Emily Padgett and Erin Davie in Side Show
Gay Dream Team to Bring Side Show Back to Broadway

By Brandon Voss

Originally published on Advocate.com August 07 2014 12:30 PM ET

"Come look at the freaks!" A reimagined production of Side Show, out composer Henry Krieger and out lyricist-librettist Bill Russell's Tony-nominated 1997 musical about conjoined twins, will return to Broadway this fall.

Helmed by out director Bill Condon, a Broadway newbie, the Side Show revival begins performances October 28 and officially opens November 17 at the St. James Theatre.

"Side Show is inspired by the remarkable true story of the Hilton twins, Daisy and Violet, who were legends in their time and the highest paid performers on the vaudeville circuit," according to press notes about the production, which was recently staged at San Diego's La Jolla Playhouse and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. "Side Show is their heartwarming search for first love and acceptance amidst the spectacle of fame and scrutiny under the spotlight."

The new production, which includes additional book material by Condon, "reimagines the world of Side Show, set against the backdrop of 1920s and '30s show business that seamlessly blends the worlds of carnival, vaudeville, and Hollywood glamour."

Condon, who wrote and directed Kinsey and the film adaptation of Dreamgirls, won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for Gods and Monsters and earned a second nomination for his Chicago screenplay.

Krieger earned a Tony nomination, three Oscar nominations, and two Grammy Awards for his work on Broadway's Dreamgirls and its film adaptation. Russell's credits include Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens, a song cycle inspired by the AIDS Memorial Quilt, and the drag musical Pageant.

"In interviews about writing Side Show I'm frequently asked what drew me to the subject matter of conjoined twins and human oddities," Russell told Playbill. "And I always answer that growing up gay in macho cowboy country I felt like the biggest freak in the world so it wasn't much of a leap to relate to these unusual people."

Erin Davie and Emily Padgett, who starred in the La Jolla and Kennedy Center engagements, will reprise their roles as Violet and Daisy Hilton. Additional casting will be announced at a later date.

The short-lived original Broadway production of Side Show opened in 1997 and received four Tony nominations, including Best Musical, Best Original Score for Krieger, and Best Book of a Musical for Russell. Alice Ripley and Emily Skinner, who originated the roles of the Hilton sisters, shared a nomination for Best Actress in a Musical.

For tickets, which go on sale August 13, visit SideShowBroadway.com.

Watch scenes from Side Show in the video below.

Contributor: 
Brandon Voss