Daisy and Violet are back...with a makeover! Dreamgirls and Twilight director Bill Condon is breathing new life into the musical cult favorite Side Show at California’s La Jolla Playhouse through December 15, telling the real-life story of two conjoined twin sisters (played by Broadway vets Erin Davie and Emily Padgett) navigating love and life in the world of the circus. We were a little nervous when we heard the revival would be completely reimagined with new songs, but Side Show purists, never fear—many of your favorite tunes are still intact, with a “spooky” new vibe.
"Basically the idea was to change what was a kind of backstage musical into a biographical musical," Condon told The Los Angeles Times. "It's a show both in music and lyrics that is not ironic. It really does wear its heart on its sleeve." The director has kept Side Show tunes “Who Will Love Me as I Am?” and “Leave Me Alone,” but has worked with composer Henry Krieger and book writer and lyricist Bill Russell to create 12 additional songs for the musical. New characters, including Harry Houdini and Hedda Hopper (whom you may remember from Broadway’s Chaplin) have also been incorporated into the story.
Condon hopes his added touches will give the musical a more realistic—and emotional—feel. "When you first arrive in the play, you don't have the comfort of believing that it's actors playing the part," Condon said. "The whole idea was to really give you a sense of what it's like to be in the sideshow in that period, something that gave you that spooky sense of being among these people." Makeup designer Dave Elsey has created masks to make the circus performers (including the Lizard Man, the Dog-Faced Boy and the Geek) look more lifelike.
But enough about La Jolla—when is this musical coming to Broadway? “Reports have suggested the production ultimately might return to Broadway,” notes The Los Angeles Times, “But [Condon] said he's simply focusing on the current run, hoping to further fine-tune the musical to amplify the relatable themes at the heart of Krieger and Russell's work.” We hope to see the new (and improved?) Hilton sisters back on the Great White Way soon!