The Broadway revival of Side Show, out composers Henry Krieger and Bill Russell's carnival-set 1997 musical about embracing one's differences, wants you to get freaky.
Fanscan now join the circus with "Show Your Freak," a virtual online photo booth. Users who take or upload pictures of themselves can superimpose their faces onto their favorite Side Show characters, including the Bearded Lady and the Half-Man Half Woman.
Helmed by out director Bill Condon in his Broadway debut, the reimagined production of Side Show began October 28 and officially opened November 17 at the St. James Theatre. Producers announced last week that, despite generally favorable reviews, the musical will close January 4.
"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 previously 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 the drag musical Pageantand Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens, a song cycle inspired by the AIDS Memorial Quilt.
"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, reprise their roles as Violet and Daisy Hilton. The supporting cast includes Matthew Hydzik as Buddy Foster, a closeted gay man who courts one of the sisters. Blair Ross plays the Bearded Lady and Kelvin Moon Loh plays the Half-Man Half-Woman.
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.