The story of Bonnie and Clyde is coming to the historic Esquire Theater in Carthage next month.
“Gangsters: A Bonnie & Clyde Musical Comedy” is loosely based on lawman Ted Hinton’s memoirs, as well as eyewitness and newspaper accounts of the Barrow Gang’s villainous exploits. It’s an original and “mostly true” show from the Texas Comedies group featuring comedy, music, robbery, murder and mayhem.
“(Director) John Cecil’s done, again, a lot of research in our area to make it very specific to us,” Carthage Main Street Manager Cindy Deloney said. “I cannot tell you how much I cannot wait for that night because their shows are just so much fun. They’re all super talented. There are songs that he’s written for the show and their costuming is so much fun. They’ll come out even outside the theater in costume and in character and mingle with the people. It’s fun for the kids, it’s fun for everybody. And you get to learn a little bit of history.”
The show is set Nov. 2 at the Esquire Theater, 114 W. Sabine St. in Carthage. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for children 12 and under. They are on sale at the Panola County Chamber of Commerce and Carthage Hardware.
This is the second time Texas Comedies will perform at the Esquire. The group staged “Murder in Carthage” earlier this year to a crowd numbering more than 300. Delaney said the Country Music Hayride organizers had so much fun with that show that they are looking forward to having the group back in town.
“The group, Texas Comedies, they have been just the best people to work with,” Delaney said. “All of them have real jobs, but they are all super talented and do this for the love of it. For ‘Murder in Carthage,’ one of the actors, the one who played the town drunk, was scaring people. Because before the show they didn’t know he was one of the actors, so I actually had people coming up and telling me about ‘There’s a guy out there looking for a saloon?’ It was pretty funny.”
Texas Comedies performs throughout the state, and the group is partially supported by the Texas Commission on the Arts. They had a Bonnie and Clyde show already written when they suggested it to Delaney and Hayride volunteers as a potential next production. The group regularly takes their shows and writes them specific to whichever town they’re performing in.
“Luckily with ‘Murder in Carthage,’ they were just able to adapt another murder story that they had,” Delaney said. “So it was an easy adaptation. Well one of the guys said something about ‘You know we have a Bonnie and Clyde show that is so good.’ I said ‘Oh, all my life I’ve heard the story of Clyde getting his haircut here.’ He said ‘Oh my gosh! Clyde gets his haircut in our show!’”
Cast members include Heath Allyn, Shelley Auer, Taylor Baker, Dan Dalbout, Joshua Meindertsma, Megan Moore Ortiz and Phil Rodriguez. The live band features Jonathan Hoyle, Gabe Ceballos and John Cecil.
Delaney says the Hayride wants to bring back “Murder in Carthage” in the future as well. That musical comedy is loosely based on the 1888 murder of the Panola County Treasurer at the county courthouse.
“While we had over 300 people, I think eventually we need to bring it back because it is a huge part of our history that a lot of people don’t know and it was a fun, fun show,” she said.