The next interview in our stagey chat series, is with the fantastic Frank Wildhorn, who is a composer, producer and songwriter. He's helped create cult classic musicals such as Jekyll & Hyde and Bonnie & Clyde. To celebrate opening night of Bonnie & Clyde at the Garrick Theatre, we just had to have a chat with the man himself.

Get yourself comfy and join Frank and I for a chat about all things stagey!

Hi Frank, thanks so much for chatting to Stage to Page today! Would you mind introducing yourself and telling us how you first got into composing and writing? 

Aloha, I’m Frank Wildhorn, composer. I taught myself music and to play piano in 1973, while dreaming about becoming an American football player!

Bonnie & Clyde has just reopened in the West End for its second run in the space of a year. What was it about the story of Bonnie and Clyde that inspired you to compose the music?

Bonnie and Clyde were such bigger than life figures - legends with such a mythology - but they were really just two kids desperate to get out of the life of the Great Depression.  They were romantic dreamers, but also notorious outlaws.  So much conflict, with life and death stakes.  This is the stuff musicals are made for.

How has it been seeing the production evolve from a small workshop in London, into one of the leading productions in the West End?

It’s been a miracle really!  Dan Looney, our producer, had a vision, and has seen it through, and now we are here at the beautiful Garrick Theatre.  He has many plans to come for the show.  It’s an honor and a privilege to be part of this amazing adventure!

Congratulations are in order, as Bonnie & Clyde just won Best New Musical at the WhatsonStage awards! What do you think it is about the show that keep bringing audiences back?

Ivan Menchell wrote a beautiful book, where, even though Bonnie and Clyde do some horrific things, we don’t want them to die - we want to see them escape their destiny.    

I have to ask, do you have a favourite scene or song from Bonnie & Clyde that you enjoy the most seeing performed live?

There are many favorite moments, from the duets that all the singers do so well, to the wonderful solo performances...and the musicians in the band playing their hearts out!

From Jekyll & Hyde, to The Scarlet Pimpernel, to The Count of Monte Cristo, you've already been a part of so many incredible shows. Is there a particular story you'd love to tackle that you haven't had the chance to yet?

Well, Jekyll & Hyde was the first show I ever wrote, and it totally changed my life, so there will never be anything like that! And now we’re working on the movie that is coming! I want to write a musical about Bruce Lee, which I am doing now.  I want to adapt the films  The Last Samurai and Stage Beauty.  Da Vinci and Michelangelo (which I’m also working on right now). The ideas just keep coming!

You've written smash hits for both stage and radio. How does writing and composing music for theatre differ to writing pop songs?

I was taught to frame the singers I write for.  Though theatre has its specificities, and pop is much more free-form, I’m always just trying to tell the truth, soulfully and passionately, for the artists I am so lucky to share my music with.     

And finally, my blog is called Stage to Page. But if you could see any book go from page to stage, what would it be and why?

Everything ever written by Gabriel Garcia Marquez!

You can catch Bonnie & Clyde at The Garrick Theatre. Buy tickets here.



No comments