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[Image via Bauer Griffin Online.]
What a treat!
More than 16 years after we saw Side Show on Broadway - twice! - we got to see a brand new and reimagined production at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
The show, by Henry Krieger and Bill Russell, has one of the best scores of all time! And it truly is one of our favorite musicals!
Not only are the songs stunning but the story speaks to our soul! It's a tale of outsiders and love!
Based on the life of the original Hilton sisters, long before there was a Paris and Nicky, Daisy and Violet were conjoined twins who lived a difficult life - unwanted, unloved, "freaks" in the side show. Eventually they found fame in vaudeville and the movies before dying poor and barely remembered.
This new production, directed by Bill Condon, is VERY different from the original production. And it still has a little work to be done before being Broadway-ready.
And this MUST play a triumphant return on Broadway!
The new Side Show is darker and more lifelike. They've basically done to it what Christopher Nolan did to Batman, which was AWESOME!
Much of that credit goes to the direction and the visionary and brilliant new costumes from Paul Tazewell and the special makeup and effects design of Dave Elsey and Lou Elsey.
There are a few new songs, and thankfully none of the iconic original ones are gone. There are a few more characters. Some, like the introduction of Houdini, are unnecessary. However, learning more about Daisy and Violet's backstory and their wicked caretakers is quite illuminating.
Act 1 felt a bit bloated and could use from some slight trimming, as well as a bit more razzle dazzle and bang for Broadway. Bigger sets! Moving pieces. Etc.
But, overall, this new production is dazzling!
And there are some thrilling performances!
Emily Padgett's voice is UNREAL and she gets to show that off so beautifully as Daisy! And playing the sister with a bit more heart, Erin Davie brings so much emotion and superb acting to the show, as well as a great voice of her own.
Alice Ripley and Emily Skinner, who first played Daisy and Violet, would be proud!
And the breakout star of the show is David St. Louis as Jake, Daisy's jilted wannabe lover, in a role originated by the phenomenal Norm Lewis! Tony Award-worthy!!!
Big kudos to everyone involved!
Can't wait to see it on Broadway and the final tweaks and improvements they make!!!