Revised Side Show Will Receive London Premiere
With Broadway not too long ago saying “Goodbye To The Side Show”, London is now preparing itself to look at the freaks! A new act is coming to town and planning to take London by storm featuring the bearded lady, half man/half man, a geek, the cannibal king and a prized pair of conjoined twins. With a flurry of American musicals descending upon London, an older musical recently revised and revived on Broadway is heading across the pond for its premiere! Today, Luner on Theatre brings you the exciting news that Broadway’s revised Side Show will finally receive a London premiere!
Producers in London have announced that the 1997 Broadway musical Side Show will come to London this fall nearly 20 years after its debut in New York in the form of its 2014 revised script. The production is slated to play Southwark Playhouse where previews begin October 21st before an officially opening October 26th, 2016. The show will, at this time, run through December 3rd, 2016. The production will not only be the U.K. premiere but will feature a brand new staging for the show. The production will be directed by Hannah Chiswick. Paul Taylor-Mills brings the show to London having previously brought Carrie and In The Heights to London for their U.K. premieres as well at Southwark. In The Heights has since transferred to Kings Cross Theatre where it is now nominated for the Olivier Best New Musical Award. Casting for the production has not been announced at this time.
Side Show was recently revived on Broadway following a tryout at La Jolla Playhouse in 2013 and The Kennedy Center in Summer 2014. The show began performances in October 2014 at The St. James Theatre before officially opening in November. Oscar-winning director and screenwriter Bill Condon reworked and re-envisioned Side Show for Broadway making extensive changes to not only the book but score as well. New music was added, original songs were cut and the book received rewrites to make the connection between the Hilton twins stronger. Erin Davie and Emily Padgett starred as Violet and Daisy Hilton and are both pictured below right. Despite being praised by critics, the revival shuttered in January 2016 after only seven weeks playing 77 performances. The company from the 2014 Broadway revival is featured above left.
Side Show is a musical that features music by Henry Krieger with book and lyrics by Bill Russell. The musical is based on the lives of Daisy and Violet Hilton, conjoined twins who became famous performers in the 1930’s. The musical follows their lives as they enter the Orpheum Circuit and reach the height of fame. However, the musical follows the twists and turns of their conjoined complication as love, marriage and more comes into question on the road. They only have each other and eventually will learn their true place in a society not welcoming yet yearning for their fame. Side Show first bowed on Broadway at The Richard Rodgers in October 1997 starring Emily Skinner and Alice Ripley as the Hilton Twins. The production was directed and choreographed by Robert Longbottom. While the production received some positive reviews, the show shuttered in January 1998 after only 31 previews and 91 performances. Thank you to Andrew Eccles for the photo above right!
Book and lyric author Bill Russell expressed his excitement Side Show would finally cross the pond to play London nearly two decades after its American premiere saying;
“We’re thrilled that Side Show will finally receive a professional production in London! The Southwark Theatre and the producer Paul Taylor-Mills have a wonderful reputation. We’re really looking forward to seeing how the U.K. reacts to the Hilton Sisters, who were born in Brighton.”
Southwark Playhouse was founded in 1993 and has quickly over the past two decades established itself as one of London’s premiere studio theaters. It’s venue hire rates remain the lowest and most competitive in the London theatre scene making it home to some of the best emerging theatrical companies in or visiting London. The venue is currently based 77-85 Newington Causeway with a 240-seat Main House and a 120-seat Studio as the London Bridge Railway Station, where the company has operated from 2007 to 2013, is being redeveloped. Southwark intends to return to this space when the redevelopment is complete in 2018 after securing a space during negotiations for the redevelopment. At London Bridge Railway Station, the theatre operates in one of the vaults below one of the platforms and has secured a new space in the new complex.
Luner Lowdown: I am thrilled to hear Side Show will at last bow in London this fall! I am especially thrilled to hear this new, moving, revised script and score will also serve as Britain’s first introduction to the Hilton twins. I was able to catch the 2014 revival of Side Show and absolutely loved it! The production, reworked by Bill Condon, made you weep and feel deeply for the twins left with only each other and their awful circumstances they choose to make the most of. I’m looking forward to seeing who headlines the show and the style the production takes on. I am still disappointed this revival never took off on Broadway and am surprised in a time where shows such as American Horror Story win over audiences. Of course, the show has been announced as limited engagement in London. However, I would love to see the show succeed and have the chance of moving on to a West End life, as previous Southwark productions have.
Luner on Theatre will keep you updated as Side Show comes to London for the first time ever in Fall 2016! The revised production will mark another American born show in London among the arriving Dreamgirls and Lady Day At Emerson’s Bar & Grill as well as already playing productions Kinky Boots, In The Heights and Funny Girl which have recently extended! No official social media for the production exists yet. However, Luner on Theatre will update you when it does. For more information, visit Southwark Playhouse’s Official Website, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. (Please note; Unless a photo is noted to be taken by Luner on Theatre, we do not own/claim ownership for any photos used in this post.) Visit the rest Luner on Theatre for all your theatre news on Broadway, London and beyond!