Tix Now on Sale for La Jolla Premiere of Re-Imagined Side Show
By Adam Hetrick
Tickets are now on sale for the La Jolla Playhouse premiere of the new Bill Condon-directed production of the Tony Award-nominated musical Side Show, which will star Erin Davie and Emily Padgett. Performances begin in November.
Academy Award winner Condon ("Dreamgirls") has given new dramatic shape to the dark, pop-driven musical that has a score by Henry Krieger (Dreamgirls) and Bill Russell (Elegies for Angels...), who also wrote the book, and contains numerous stand-out songs, including "Who Will Love Me As I Am?"
A source close to the production told Playbill.com that the creative team is hopeful for a Broadway run following Side Show's engagements at the La Jolla Playhouse (Nov. 5-Dec. 15) and the Kennedy Center (June 14-July 13, 2014).
Davie (Grey Gardens, A Little Night Music) and Padgett (Rock of Ages, Flashdance) will co-star as Violet and Daisy, respectively, in a cast that will also feature Manoel Felciano (Sweeney Todd, Cabaret) as Terry Connor, Matthew Hydzik (West Side Story, Grease) as Buddy and David St. Louis (Jesus Christ Superstar, The Scarlet Pimpernel) as Jake.
The cast will also boast 2013 Tony Award nominee Keala Settle (Hands on a Hardbody) as the Fortune Teller, with Brandon Bieber (Follies) as Freak, Lauren Elder (Hair) as a member of the ensemble, Javier Ignacio (Forever Plaid) as Houdini, Robert Joy ("CSI: NY") as Sir, Kelvin Moon Loh (Here Lies Love) as Freak, Zonya Love (The Color Purple) as Hottentot, Barrett Martin (Nice Work if You Can Get It) as Ray/Freak, Don Richard (Wicked) as Martin Arnold/Freak, Blair Ross (Jekyll and Hyde) as Bearded Lady/Auntie, Matthew Patrick Davis (A Midsummer Night's Dream) as Freak, Nicholas Mongiardo-Cooper as Freak/Dr. Weldon, Hannah Shankman (Hair) as a member of the ensemble, as well as David Kirk Grant and Michelle London (Wicked) as swings.
The creative team features choreographer Anthony Van Laast, scenic designer David Rockwell, costume designer Paul Tazewell, lighting designers Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer and sound designer Kai Harada. Side Show has orchestrations by Harold Wheeler, with music supervision and arrangements by Sam Davis and musical direction by Greg Jarrett.
"Bill Condon is coming to the Playhouse to develop and stage a re-imagined script and score for Side Show with this hugely talented cast and crew. We can't wait to work with them as they breathe bewitching new life into this favorite of the American Musical Theatre," La Jolla artistic director Christopher Ashley said in a statement.
Among the new characters revealed for this production of Side Show are Harry Houdini; Texas lawyer Martin Arnold; Loretta, a Hedda Hopper-like gossip columnist; as well as the characters of Auntie and Sir, based on the twins' real life caretakers Mary Hilton and her husband, who helped birth the U.K.-born twins and originally exploited them for monetary gain.
"Henry and I are thrilled to be doing more work with Bill Condon on this piece," book writer and lyricist Russell previously told Playbill.com. "We've already done quite a bit of rethinking, re-examining and revising of it together and his brilliance and passion for the show are inspiring. Long-time fans of the original should not be alarmed. Though we're excited by this opportunity to take another look at the material, the essence of the show is still intact."
Krieger and Russell's score propels the mostly sung-through musical that traces the lives of the Hilton twins from their rough upbringing in a traveling freak show, to their turn as celebrated Vaudeville stars, who were never able to live a life apart from the curious eyes of the public. A cast album preserves many of the songs from the production, but large sections of Kreiger and Russell's recitative that link the action were unrecorded.
Side Show debuted on Broadway Sept. 19, 1997, at the Richard Rodgers Theatre. Though its Broadway run was brief, at only 91 performances, Side Show has garnered a legion of fans. Robert Longbottom directed the original production that starred Tony nominee Emily Skinner and Tony Award winner Alice Ripley as Daisy and Violet Hilton, respectively. The actresses shared a Tony Award nomination for their work. The original cast also included Norm Lewis, Hugh Panaro and Jeff McCarthy.
For tickets visit LaJollaPlayhouse.org or by phone (858) 550-1010.
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