Ride or Die: Macaela Carder Whitaker Directs The Rep’s Bonnie & Clyde

. August 31, 2017.

It’s the passionate American outlaw story we all know and love, the tale of the notorious Bonnie & Clyde. Their story, the inspiration for the two-time Tony-nominated musical, is coming to Northwest Ohio at the Toledo Repertoire Theatre from September 8th through the 24th.

Director Macaela Carder Whitaker discussed the upcoming production.

How long have you been directing?
I’ve been directing for 14 years. This is my third season with Toledo Repertoire. I came on as an actor in a show.

Describe your directing style:
I let the script lead me. I always ask myself, how is the best way to tell this story? I encourage actors to make discoveries, with some guidelines. I look for actors’ strengths and places for improvement.

How did you select the cast?
I really have no vision of what it looks like until I see auditions. I was lucky that we had a lot of new faces audition. Bonnie and Clyde are both new Rep actors this season.

Have rehearsals started? How is the dynamic on set?
We’re deep into rehearsals. We were on the stage last night for the first time, and the actors are readjusting to the space. We’ll work on choreographing the car for the show. We have parts of a 34’ Ford, sound objects, and some ensemble members’ bodies to create this form of the car instead of having an actual car on stage. There’s some creative interpretation there.

As far as the dynamic, some actors knew each other before this production, while others didn’t, but it’s all very friendly. Everyone keeps an eye out for each other. I couldn’t have asked for a better cast.

What can you tell us about the style of the music?
It’s like a snapshot of the United States. It’s a little bit of everything. Rock, rockabilly, pop, musical theatre sounds, country, blues, gospel, jazz, ragtime. Really an eclectic style, and so there’s something for everyone. Very vocally demanding for all of the leads.

What can the audience expect from this show?
We’re hoping they get a glimpse of this story. Not the full tale of Bonnie and Clyde but more of the personal relationships that are there. The script romanticizes Bonnie and Clyde a little. It touches on the darker aspects. You’re not going to see blood and guts. It’s an all-stylized version.  

This show has received many award nominations and has already been in production for several years. How does that affect your interpretation?
I tend to ignore nominations or awards, and I purposefully do not watch other productions or movie interpretations of shows I work on. The Rep’s production will not be like anybody else’s. I want to make sure the artistic interpretation is original.

What is the significance of this show?
We are the first in our immediate area to do the production, and it’s a slice of American history. I also think Bonnie and Clyde, as historical figures, were part of the intro to our culture’s intrigue with other people’s lives, like celebrities. It’s going to be a powerful show. We’ll make you laugh, and we’ll make you cry.

$25/adults. $23/senior.
8pm, Friday-Saturday. 2:30pm Sunday. September 8-24.
The Toledo Repertoire Theatre,
16 10th St., 419-243-9277. toledorep.org