BROADWAY REVIEW: 'Side Show' at St. James Theatre

November 18, 2014 3:01 AM

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NEW YORK — "Come look at the freaks," goes the accusatory opening number of "Side Show," the eclectic and enticing 1997 musical from Bill Russell and Henry Krieger that looks at the struggles of conjoined twins, each eager to escape the carnival, develop careers, experience love and find themselves. It's a classic Broadway theme, as sung here by an emcee gone to seed. Most musicals (and their TV spinoffs) deal either with freaks writ large, or with ordinary people convinced that something inestimably weird resides within. We're all either looking at freaks or wishing they'd stop looking at us. Maybe both at once.

This probably explains why this show, now revived on Broadway by director Bill Condon in a commercial transfer from Washington's Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, has quite the cult following. Well, that and our perennial, and perennially creepy, fascination with twins, an objectified subset o...

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