Side Show BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: Drew Angerer
  • Side Show
  • NY TIMES

  • TIME OUT

  • DAILY NEWS

  • HR

  • EW

Opening Night:
November 17, 2014
Closing:
Open Ended

Theater: St. James Theatre / 246 West 44th Street, New York, NY, 10036

Synopsis: 

Based on the true story of conjoined twins Violet and Daisy Hilton who became stars during the Depression, Side Show is a moving portrait of two women joined at the hip whose extraordinary bondage brings them fame but denies them love.

BUY TICKETS BUY GROUP TICKETS
  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF Side Show

    United by Life, Divided by Dreams

    Charles Isherwood

    November 17, 2014: Being a freak is virtually the new normal, so the timing couldn’t be better for the thrilling Broadway revival of Side Show that blazed open Monday night at the St. James Theater. The musical by Bill Russell and Henry Krieger, about conjoined twins searching for love and fame, or maybe just a half-measure of happiness, seems eerily appropriate for an era in which oddballs, outliers and anybody with a desperate need for the spotlight — and a way with a webcam — can achieve celebrity of some kind. But Side Show, based on the lives of the real-life twins Daisy and Violet Hilton, who became vaudeville stars in the 1930s, invites us to do much more than come look at the freaks, as the electrifying opening number beckons. This beautiful and wrenching musical, lovingly directed by Bill Condon, asks us to step inside their skins and feel what it’s like to be celebrated one moment, rejected the next, and to have the strange consolation of a companion who shares it all: the pain, the joy, the hope, the frustration. Who cannot relate to the yearning expressed so eagerly by Violet, to be “like everyone else” and live a life of humble contentment? But who could fail to understand the fervent desire of Daisy to be a big, blazing somebody, standing out from the faceless crowd? In tapping into these contradictory ambitions, the musical burrows deep into your spirit. As portrayed with layered complexity — and pin-you-to-your-seat vocal chops — by Erin Davie and Emily Padgett, the Hilton twins embody an essential truth about the human condition: On some level we are forever divided in our desires and, life being what it is, thwarted in at least some of them.

    READ THE REVIEW
  • TIME OUT NEW YORK REVIEW OF Side Show

    A first-rate production of a second-rate show

    David Cote

    November 17, 2014: When Side Show opened in 1997 for a brief Broadway run, the American musical was in crisis and the show seemed, to some, like a lifeline. If period-Americana tuners about unusual women in conformist worlds were your ball game, then here was a real double-header: the story of Daisy and Violet Hilton, conjoined twins who starred on the midway and vaudeville circuits during the Depression. At the time, many people seemed determined to think that Side Show was better than it was; and now, in Bill Condon’s darkly sumptuous revival, it really is better than it was. The musical has been extensively rewritten, with many new songs, richer side characters and a clearer let-your-Freaks-flag-fly message. Emily Padgett (as the stardom-eyed Daisy) and Erin Davie (as the shrinking Violet) work marvelously together, achieving both the requisite synchronicity and the trickier discreteness of personality. Ryan Silverman, Matthew Hydzik and the iron-voiced David St. Louis are impressive as their side men, and some scenes are genuinely moving.

    READ THE REVIEW
  • NEW YORK DAILY NEWS REVIEW OF Side Show

    Powerful score and effective staging propel story of conjoined twins, though it struggles for emotional connection

    Joe Dziemianowicz

    November 17, 2014: For a musical about true-life conjoined twins Daisy and Violet Hilton, the strange and stirring Side Show has a nagging habit of losing its grip. Chalk it up to dramatic inconsistencies and thin characterizations.  Even so, there’s a lot to like about the revised vision of this Depression-era biography that arrives on Broadway following a run in 2013 at the La Jolla Playhouse and earlier this year at the Kennedy Center. Beyond a laudably offbeat topic, two very good leading ladies and a shadowy, evocative design, this show’s most stunning jewels are brilliant songs by composer Henry Krieger and lyricist Bill Russell, who revamped the book with director Bill Condon. The voluptuous, lushly arranged score (new songs have been added and some have been dropped from the 1997 Broadway premiere, which ran 91 performances) boasts dark, moody streaks like “Come Look at the Freaks,” the opening song setting a creepy tone. There are cheeky and chipper vaudeville novelty numbers, like “One Plus One Equals Three” and “Stuck With You,” performed by the girls at a glue factory (wink, wink). “The Interview,” which finds the girls’ fame ascending, recalls a scene from “Dreamgirls,” another Krieger show.

    READ THE REVIEW
  • HOLLYWOOD REPORTER REVIEW OF Side Show

    A bold reimagining that pays off in spades

    David Rooney

    November 17, 2014: While the commercially disastrous 1997 Broadway run of Side Show generated a substantial cult following, the big surprise for those of us coming to it fresh is that its exotic subject matter — real-life conjoined twin sisters who became fixtures on the 1930s vaudeville circuit — adheres so naturally to the central theme that drives countless contemporary musicals. That would be the hunger of the outsider to be loved in a world of crushing conformity, encapsulated here in the Act I closing number, "Who Will Love Me As I Am?" Bill Condon's fabulous "revisal" maximizes the material's strengths and minimizes its weaknesses, serving up mesmerizing entertainment veined throughout with haunting poignancy. Condon originally was drawn to the property as a potential directorial follow-up to his breakthrough film Gods and Monsters, the tender 1998 drama about James Whale's final years, which has lovely thematic echoes here. While the screen project failed to come together, Condon did later direct Dreamgirls, consolidating his connection with composer Henry Krieger, who also wrote the music for Side Show.

    READ THE REVIEW
  • ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY REVIEW OF Side Show

    Side Show Review

    Melissa Rose Bernardo

    November 17, 2014: If ever there was a show that defines the phrase 'cult musical', it's Side Show. Apologies to Chess, Follies, and that telekinetic favorite Carrie. In the 17 years since its premiere, the Bill Russell and Henry Krieger labor of love inspired by the true-life tale of the Hilton sisters—conjoined twins–turned–vaudeville entertainers—has built a fan base that its initial three-and-a-half-month Broadway run could never have prophesied. Super-fans (a.k.a. ''Side Show Freaks'') have watched this long-deserved revival inch its way across the country, from San Diego's La Jolla Playhouse to Washington, D.C.'s Kennedy Center and finally to New York; they’ve given tacit pre-approval to first-time Broadway director Bill Condon—after all, he wrote the screenplay for 2002's Best Picture Oscar-winner Chicago, and he brought Krieger's musical Dreamgirls to the big screen in 2007. How high is the anticipation? Don't be surprised if applause breaks out after the first few haunting, tinkly notes of the opening ''Come Look at the Freaks.'' If you saw Side Show the first time around, you may not recognize it. No one needs a scene-by-scene comparison, but do know that it's been heavily rewritten—reportedly by about 60 percent—and a few of your favorite numbers may likely be gone (personally, I missed the kicky Egyptian-themed '20s pastiche ''We Share Everything''). And if you didn't see it the first time around, you're likely to leave asking: what was all the fuss about? Certainly not this leaden, sporadically moving update—which bears little resemblance to the original production.  

    READ THE REVIEW

BEST REVIEWED SHOWS

Mormon    JerseyBoys    Phantom    Motown    Wicked
DOWNLOAD THE APP