Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan Karen Howell as Martha, left, performs with four other members of the cast during the musical Clyde 'n Bonnie a Folktale at the Aurora Theatre in Lawrenceville on Tuesday.
LAWRENCEVILLE -- From the city that never sleeps to the Crepe Myrtle City of Gwinnett, Broadway director Lonnie Price, musical book writer Hunter Foster, lyric and musical composer Rick Crom, and choreographer Josh Rhodes have teamed up with the Aurora Theatre to perfect their latest creation, "Clyde 'n Bonnie: A Folktale," which debuted regionally March 15.
The big question is, "How the heck did they land in Lawrenceville?"
Easy. Aurora's associate producer Ann-Carol Pence.
In 2009, she saw the show at the New York Musical Theatre Festival and wanted to bring it to her stage. Pence had her people talk to Foster's people and she made it happen.
Foster and Price had wanted a stage to work on the production and found it in our backyard.
"It's a great place to work on a show here. We're very isolated in a good way, they put us in a beautiful house which is very comfortable and the actors are just sensational," Price said. "There's something about the purity of working with actors who are doing it for the love of it and not just (for fame).
"These actors won't get a television series. They won't get a movie from doing this. They're doing it because they love to act and it's very inspiring to be around them because it reminds me of why we all started."
Foster added, "It does remind you of what it's all about. Sometimes it's the petty things that get in the way that make you forget -- that's why it's been great to come here and feel the optimism and positive vibes from the theater all the way to the actors."
Although extremely excited to meet the group, the local actors weren't sure what to expect from the big Broadway names. There were feelings of fear and anxiety for the chance to work with a production team that has created some of the best shows in New York City.
"I wrote my graduate dissertation on Lonnie Price, so this is really incredible," said Laura Floyd, who plays Bonnie Parker in the musical. "I was totally terrified, intimidate and excited, but he was such a gracious, kind, sensitive, giving person -- and directors aren't always like that. So, to have someone of that caliber be so gracious is really inspiring."
Her on-stage beau, who plays Clyde Barrow, couldn't agree more.
"Going into it, it was terrifying with a big huge name (Price) that I've known since I was a kid, but I've never worked with a director that is so good at creating a safe room to experiment in," J.C. Long said. "Rick and Hunter especially are never too precious about their words they've written. If it feels more natural to say a line a different way, Hunter is absolutely open to trying it that way."
Everyone in the cast said the production crew has been a blast to work with throughout the rehearsals.
"They're just us," said Geoff "Googie" Uterhardt, who plays the town sheriff Ted Hinton. "They've been so gracious and supportive, especially Lonnie. He's been more supportive than most directors I work with in town. With his resume, you would think that he would deserve to have a little bit more of an attitude, but he has none. He's one of the nicest guys I've ever worked with."
Show runs through April 8.
For more information, visit www.auroratheatre.com.