Nearly Naked Theatre in downtown Phoenix is currently featuring a great musical by Bill Russell (book and lyrics) and Henry Krieger (music). I attended an afternoon performance of Side Show this afternoon expecting to be entertained, but the show that I saw greatly exceeded my expectations. Side Show is a fantastic musical, and the Phoenix crew pulled it off flawlessly. It was easily the best musical that I have seen this season.
The story, which is told almost entirely through musical numbers, is the true life tale of a pair of conjoined twins who worked the carnival circuit as resident freaks in the early 1930's. The young women, Daisy and Violet, have different goals in life - with Daisy desiring fame and Violet having her heart set on romance. All of their dreams and aspirations are, of course, restricted by their physical co-dependence.
The cast was outstanding with every performer excelling in acting, singing, and dancing. Hannah Zieser (Daisy) and Violet Hilton (Violet) were able to maintain their physical bond while belting out songs that shook the walls and rattled the windows. Colin Ross as Jake "The Cannibal King," was an accomplished scene-stealer who rocked the stage with his physicality. Another standout performer was Drew Swaine who played Buddy. He proved himself to be a hoofer extraordinaire.
Side Show will be playing one more week at the Nearly Naked. It is a Broadway-calibre production, and well worth the drive across town - even in this God-awful heat!