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Side Show

Musical in 2 Acts. Music by Henry Krieger; Book and Lyrics by Bill Russell based on the the lives of the Siamese twins, Daisy and Violet Hilton

Richard Rodgers Theatre, Broadway - Opened 16th October 16th October, 1997. Closed 4th January, 1998 ( 91 perfs. 31 Previews)


The musical is about Daisy and Violet Hilton, conjoined twins who make a change from being a circus act to becoming famous stage performers in the mid 1920s.

The action takes place on the Midway, in Vaudeville, at the Follies, on the road and at the Texas Centennial.


Act I

The Boss, the ringmaster of a sideshow, introduces the exhibits: the bearded lady, a geek, the Cannibal King, the seraglio of a Hashemite sheik, and, lastly, his star attraction, the Siamese twins. Buddy Foster, an aspiring musician, brings Terry Connor, a talent scout for the Orpheum Circuit, to see the Siamese twins, persuading him to enter the show all the way. Coerced ominously in by the Boss, Buddy thinks he could help them create an act and convinces Terry to meet them. The two men interrupt a birthday party for the girls.

Terry asks their names and they respond, "I'm Daisy" and "I'm Violet". He then asks them their dreams ("Like Everyone Else"); Violet, the gentler of the two, wants a normal life of a husband and home; Daisy, on the other hand, seeks fame and fortune. Terry tells them he wants to help their dreams come true. After the Boss rudely refuses Terry's offer to be cut in on the twins' potential vaudeville career, Terry devises a scheme whereby Buddy will teach the girls a song. Jake, an African-American who plays the Cannibal King in the sideshow and is the twins' friend and protector, begs them to consider what they're getting into and the whole sideshow family adds its opinion.

Two weeks later, Terry refuses to see the twins perform and Buddy tells him how the personal dynamics with the girls are getting sticky. Before their secret late-night performance, the twins confess to each other how infatuated they are with the two men who've come into their lives.

The Hilton Sisters' secret debut is a great success. But the Boss discovers the subterfuge and physically threatens the twins when they tell him they're leaving the sideshow. Jake comes to their rescue and the other attractions threaten to leave also, causing the Boss to back down. Daisy, Violet and Jake, whom Terry has invited to help backstage on the twins' tour, bid farewell to their sideshow family.

It's time for the twins' first public performance, and Terry invites a group of reporters together before the show. Before their vaudeville debut, the twins argue about their different ways of expressing interest in men. Onstage they sing "We Share Everything" in a production number featuring them as queens of ancient Egypt.

After the twins' performing triumph, Terry and Buddy shower them with kisses. Hostile reporters asks tough questions about the girls' love life. Terry and Buddy deny any romantic inclinations, leaving the twins to wonder if they will ever find romantic fulfillment.

Act II

The second act opens with the Hilton Sisters at the height of their success - a Follies-style production number. Daisy's dream of stardom has come true but Violet seems no closer to her dream of finding a husband.

At a fancy New Year's Eve party, Buddy tries to cheer up Violet and ends up proposing marriage. Afterwards, Terry imagines what it would be like to be alone with Daisy.

In an onstage number, Buddy, Violet and Daisy issue an upbeat invitation to their wedding. But backstage both Daisy and Buddy separately express doubts as to how the arrangement will work. Jake overhears Buddy and, in an effort to save Violet from seemingly imminent heartbreak, confesses that he has loved her for years.

The night before Violet and Buddy's wedding as the grand finale of the Texas Centennial, Daisy is feeling left out. To appease her, Terry suggests going where they could be more-or-less alone together.

The big day arrives. Hawkers sell tickets and souvenirs. But in the dressing area, complications arise. Jake announces he is leaving. Buddy confesses he's not strong enough to marry Violet. Daisy offers a solution which will ensure a movie contract dependent on the wedding publicity. Terry cannot bring himself to acknowledge publicly what he feels for Daisy. She dismisses him and insists that Violet and Buddy go through with the ceremony, which will at least benefit everyone's career. Left alone, the twins find solace in each other. As the wedding proceeds, they reprise "Come Look at the Freaks" with full understanding and acceptance of who they are and what they are doing.


Musical Numbers

  1. Come Look At The Freaks – The Boss and Company
  2. Like Everyone Else – Daisy Hilton and Violet Hilton
  3. You Deserve A Better Life – Terry Connor and Buddy Foster
  4. Crazy, Deaf and Blind – The Boss
  5. The Devil You Know – Jake and Company
  6. More Than We Bargained For – Terry Connor and Buddy Foster
  7. Feelings You've Got To Hide – Daisy Hilton and Violet Hilton
  8. When I'm By Your Side – Daisy Hilton and Violet Hilton
  9. Say Goodbye To The Freak Show – Company
  10. Overnight Sensation – Terry Connor and Reporters
  11. Leave Me Alone – Daisy Hilton and Violet Hilton
  12. We Share Everything – Daisy Hilton, Violet Hilton and Vaudevillian
  13. The Interview – Daisy Hilton, Violet Hilton and Reporters
  14. Who Will Love Me As I Am? – Daisy Hilton, Violet Hilton, and Company
  15. Rare Songbirds On Display – Company
  16. New Year's Day – Terry Connor, Buddy Foster, Jake, Daisy Hilton, Violet Hilton and Company
  17. Private Conversation – Terry Connor and Daisy Hilton
  18. One Plus One Equals Three – Buddy Foster, Daisy Hilton, Violet Hilton, and the Vale Sisters
  19. You Should Be Loved – Jake and Violet Hilton
  20. Tunnel Of Love – Terry Connor, Buddy Foster, Daisy Hilton, Violet Hilton, and Company
  21. Beautiful Day For A Wedding – The Boss and Hawkers
  22. Marry Me, Terry – Terry Connor and Daisy Hilton
  23. I Will Never Leave You – Daisy Hilton and Violet Hilton
  24. Finale – Company