Vaan Otto as Young Buck in "Bonnie and Clyde."
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Meet the “Bonnie and Clyde” cast: CTH’s new musical is a family affair for the Otto bunch

From now until opening night on Nov. 5, the Livingston Post will be profiling cast members of the Community Theatre of Howell’s production of “Bonnie and Clyde.”

The Community Theatre of Howell is back on the big stage in November with the musical “Bonnie and Clyde.”

A Tony-nominated musical, “Bonnie and Clyde” is the alluring “behind-the-headlines” story of the love, adventure and crimes that captured the attention of an entire nation. Featuring blues, gospel and rockabilly music, this thrilling musical follows Bonnie and Clyde’s desperate pursuit of their dreams as their inevitable end draws near.

The show is directed by Luke Daniels, with Amanda Daniels as assistant director. The producers are Kim Carnahan and Linda Peasley; Lynda Bednarczyk is the stage manager; Rick Spangler is tech director; David Anderson is the vocal director; Lottie Moorehouse is the choreographer; and Dawn Eldred is doing costumes.

In today’s story, we meet the Otto family of Brighton – dad Collin (the branch manager of Natural Way in Farmington Hills), mom Angela (director of sales and marketing for Concord Hospitality), Vaan (a student at Hartland Farms Intermediate School) and Carson (a student at Hartland Lakes Elementary School). All four are in the cast. (Angela answered the questions below on behalf of the family.)

How did you become involved with CTH and what are some favorite roles from the past, either with CTH or other groups?

This is actually our first show with our whole family in a show! We’ve been looking for the right show, and “Bonnie and Clyde” happened to be it! We love the music in “Bonnie and Clyde”  and it has a unique range of ages, which made it the ideal show for us to go all in on.

Our first show at CTH was “Tarzan.” My son Vaan was young Tarzan after his very first audition, and CTH was the theater that truly made him fall in love with Musical Theatre. My husband and I jumped right in and he brought the jungle to life by joining set paint, and I led hair and makeup. Since then, I have been involved seven CTH shows, typically on set crew or hair and makeup lead.

Vaan Otto as Young Buck in “Bonnie and Clyde.”

This is Vaan’s fourth show at CTH, and his favorite show so far because he loved learning the History of America during the Great Depression, and what lead to the story of Bonnie and Clyde.

He has really enjoyed building the character, and understanding his story so that he can help to build and tell the story of Clyde from his childhood and the experiences that shaped his life. When he’s not on stage at CTH, he’s dancing at Maria’s School of Dance, or dreaming of his next show, he’ll appear as Peter Pan in Prelude’s “Peter Pan Jr.” in February 2022.

This is Carson’s first show at CTH, and he has enjoyed being a part of the two large ensemble numbers in the show, and developing different characters in the ensemble – he steals the show in some of the most memorable scenes of “Bonnie and Clyde”! Carson recently got his first speaking role in a show, and will be Michael Darling in Prelude’s “Peter Pan Jr.” in February 2022. He recently took up tap dancing, and his goal is to eventually dance for Dance Expressions at MSD.

Collin and I are enjoying finally finding a show that we can do together. We both were in shows when we were younger, and I continued doing shows into High School, and my first few years of college with the Hartland Players (Annelle in “Steel Magnolias,” Francis in “No Sex Please, We’re British,” and Catherine in “The Foreigner”).

It has been a treat to do this show as a family, and it is so much fun working together on character development and learning the music. Now that we’re back, we are hoping to continue doing shows together and with our boys in the future!

How does it feel being back in the theater after such a long break?

We are thrilled to be back in the theater after such a long break, and we are excited that we are able to come back from “intermission,” and share this amazing musical with audiences at CTH.

I think that what makes this show so special is the relationships that drive the music and the story of Bonnie & Clyde. In life, we all have experiences that lead to decisions and choices that we make, and I think that this show really highlights the human experience of all the characters in the cast by showing their stories and their growing motivations throughout the show.

The music in the show is spectacular. It has something for everyone. From Rock and Roll, to Rockabilly, and even traditional Americana Musical Theatre vibes, this has become one of my favorite soundtracks to listen to!

The Community Theatre of Howell is presenting the music, “Bonnie and Clyde” at the Howell High School Freshman Campus, 1400 W. Grand River Ave., Howell. Shows are Nov. 5-6 and 13-14, with showtimes at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday.

Tickets are $18 for adults, $16 for students and seniors, available by clicking here.

One of the big musical numbers from “Bonnie and Clyde.”

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