Buzz Worthy

A joy ride with ‘Bonnie & Clyde’

“Bonnie & Clyde” has brought an unprecedented level of excitement to the already rich Sarasota theater scene.

Bradenton benefited, too.

The musical has played at the Asolo Repertory’s Mertz Theatre, a mere nine miles from the Herald’s downtown headquarters, since Nov. 12.

The majestic 500-seat playhouse remained filled for almost every performance.

Manatee County residents surely were among those elated by the new musical about America’s most famous criminal sweethearts.

Holmes Beach teen Holly Rizzo had the opportunity of a lifetime playing Young Bonnie.

“I feel so lucky to be a part of this,” the 14-year-old said.

The Rizzos invited the entire cast to a Dec. 12 Christmas Party at their home. Everyone attended, including star Laura Osnes, who originated the role of Bonnie Parker.

She spoke with me the next day.

“I love the people here so much, I’m going to be sad to leave,” Osnes said. “We had a party at Holly Rizzo’s house last night and had a blast. When you do a performance like this you become each other’s family and that’s what happened here.”

“Bonnie & Clyde” has its final Asolo Rep performance at 2 p.m. today. I attended Thursday for the first time since opening night. My glowing review, which has been blown up on a sign prominently placed outside the Mertz, reads “ ‘Bonnie & Clyde’ lives up to Broadway hype.”

I stand by the statement 100 percent.

“When ‘Bonnie’ opened we had high hopes, but until people started coming we didn’t know,” the show’s famed composer, Frank Wildhorn, recently told me. “We exceeded expectations and this has just been fantastic.”

The latest update has “Bonnie & Clyde” opening on Broadway in September.

I feel as if a little bit of Bradenton will be there with it.

Wade Tatangelo, features writer/columnist, can be reached at (941) 745-7057.