30 Days of NYMF on BroadwayWorld Day 7: The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde
The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde
Music by Dana P. Rowe
Book and lyrics by Michael Aman and Oscar E. Moore
Oscar, Dana and I were looking for a project to work on together. We tried an animated musical that Oscar and I wrote, and a couple of songs for another piece, but it didn't click. I started reading down my list of possible musicals and Dana screamed when I came to Bonnie and Clyde. We were in a diner on 7th Avenue and he literally jumped out of his seat. That's how the project was born.
Michael Bush (the director) kept asking how we were going to make these characters likeable. Good question. But we were intrigued by finding the human side of these outlaws. That's when Michael introduced me to country music. It wasn't about broken tractors and runaway husbands, it had humor, sex, story. So that's where show tunes went! You want to hear the voice of these people? Listen to country music: The Dixie Chicks, Lonestar, Toby Keith, I loved what I heard. I even tried to learn to line dance. Michael had the thought that line dancing might be the key to covering car chases and shootouts. Stylized rather than realistic.
Charlotte, North Carolina, 2003. We did a reading of the incomplete script for a raucous crowd of 200 people. These southerners bought the story and sound that these three Yankees had created. They embraced us.
September, 2004: a reading at the Manhattan Theatre Club. A first-rate Broadway cast showed us what we had and we got more excited. But we still weren't there. What if a country band was telling the story of Bonnie and Clyde?
Michael Bush and I meet Sherrie Austin! I know her from the radio. She tells us she likes what she sees/hears. She invites us to come down to Nashville to see her perform at the Grand Ol' Opry.
Michael Bush and I go to Nashville for a taste of the Grand Ol' Opry. There's our show. That's how to tell this story.
We get invited to participate in the second annual Musical Theatre Festival. And here we are.