Bill Russell to Direct Own Side Show at Park Square in St. Paul

News   Bill Russell to Direct Own Side Show at Park Square in St. Paul Bill Russell will direct the musical Side Show, which he co-wrote with Henry Krieger, in a winter production at the Park Square Theatre in St. Paul, MN. The staging will run Jan. 9 through Feb. 16, 2002, with an opening night Jan. 12.

Bill Russell will direct the musical Side Show, which he co-wrote with Henry Krieger, in a winter production at the Park Square Theatre in St. Paul, MN. The staging will run Jan. 9 through Feb. 16, 2002, with an opening night Jan. 12.

The show will mark the first time Russell has directed the cult musical, which had a brief run on Broadway in 1997 but has since developed a devoted following. Artistic director Richard Cook told Playbill On-Line that he and Russell have known each other since attending graduate school together in Sioux City, Iowa. Recently, the two men reconnected, and talk of a production of Side Show began. "We became interested in the show and knew Bill was directing his own work It became a natural to invite him," said Cook.

Park Square is celebrating 27 years of business in 2002. The company began its life in the mid-'70s in a second story warehouse theatre space in St. Paul. Currently, it boasts a yearly budget of $1,500,000 and an audience of 50,000.

Side Show represents a departure for the company, which has made its reputation with productions of classics and local premieres. "This is a little muscle stretching for us," said Cook.

The unlikely tuner is about real-life conjoined sisters Violet and Daisy Hilton, who forged a career in show business. Alice Ripley and Emily Skinner famously played the parts on Broadway. The MN cast features a host of local talents. Last year, the Northlight Theatre in Skokie, IL, achieved a solid hit with a production of the work. For serious fans of the musical, the St. Paul staging will be of particular interest: Russell has reinserted a song cut during Broadway previews — a solo by Violet called "She's Gone."