Broadway Side Show Opens Oct. 16

News   Broadway Side Show Opens Oct. 16
The new Broadway musical Side Show opened Oct. 16 at the Richard Rodgers Theatre. The show tells the true story of Daisy and Violet Hilton, identical twins joined at the hip, who performed in show business in the early years of the 20th century.
Left: The original Hilton Sisters (Daisy and Violet).Center: The poster.  Right: Emily Skinner and Alice Ripley
Left: The original Hilton Sisters (Daisy and Violet).Center: The poster. Right: Emily Skinner and Alice Ripley

One twin loves the limelight; the other longs for the simpler life. How they work out their conflict and find love is the story of Side Show.

The Hiltons, who appeared in the Tod Browning movie, Freaks, are played by Alice Ripley, who appeared as Bathsheba in King David and is best known for playing the ingenue in Broadway's Sunset Boulevard; and Emily Skinner, who played Emily in the Madison Square Garden Christmas Carol last year.

Robert Longbottom directed and choreographed this look at carnival and vaudeville life, which has book and lyrics by Bill Russell and music by Henry Krieger, of Dreamgirls fame. Director Longbottom has staged several Radio City Music Hall seasonal spectaculars.

Jeff McCarthy plays a press agent who brings the twins out of the sideshow and puts them into vaudeville. Hugh Panaro will play his friend and partner who performs with the girls. McCarthy starred in Beauty And The Beast, Panaro in Show Boat.

NY cabaret veteran Philip Officer will also have a role in the show, as both a "geek" and an ensemble member. Recently added to the cast are Norm Lewis (Miss Saigon) and Ken Jennings (A Christmas Carol at Madison Square Garden; 1995's Shabbatai at the American Jewish Theatre). Jennings also originated the role of Tobias in Sweeney Todd. Also in the Side Show cast are Billy Hartung, Emily Hsu, Alicia Irving, Devanand N. Janki, Judy Malloy, David Masenheimer, David McDonald, Phillip Oficer, Verna Pierce, Jim T. Ruttman, Jenny-Lynn Suckling, Susan Taylor, Timothy Warmen and Darlene Wilson.

Songs in the show include "Come Look At The Freaks," "Rare Songbirds On Display," "They Hardly Know I'm Around," "When I'm By Your Side," "Crazy, Deaf And Blind," "Marry Me, Terry" and "One Plus One Equals Three."

Produced by Emanuel Azenberg, Joseph Nederlander, Herschel Waxman, Janice McKenna and Scott Nederlander, Sideshowhas sets by Robin Wagner, costumes by Gregg Barnes , lighting by Brian MacDevitt, and sound by Tom Clark. David Chase serves as musical director, with Harold Wheeler doing the orchestrations.

Incredibly, Side Show is not the only Siamese twin musical on the horizon. Singapore's Action Theatre presented its latest spoofy production, Chang & Eng -- The Musical, for the June 1997 Festival of Asian Arts.

Even more incredibly, Side Show is not the first musical about Daisy & Violet Hilton. In Dec. 1989, Off-Broadway's WPA staged Twenty Fingers, Twenty Toes, by Michael Dansicker and Bob Nigro. Ellen Greene starred in the show, which was directed by Nigro.

Side Show tickets can be ordered by phone at (212) 307-4100 or purchased at The Richard Rodgers Theatre box office on West 46th Street in New York.

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