Musical Theater

A Reimagined Side Show Returns to Broadway

Emily Padgett and Erin Davie in a scene from "Side Show". Photo Joan Marcus.

The original Side Show was an anomaly on Broadway. Although it opened to rave reviews in 1997, it was a mega-flop. Hardly anyone wanted to see a show about “Siamese” twins, freaks, and it closed after only 122 performances and a $6.8 million loss.

Now Side Show has been totally reimagined with a new director, a new choreographer, and several new songs. The show has evolved. And so has its audience. We’re a more diverse, open, and tolerant society with a much broader definition of “normal.” The headline of the original review in The New York Times said “Illuminating the Freak in Everyone.” The perspective of that headline today would surely change the words to “Illuminating the Humanity in …”

Saturday Night, Stephen Sondheim’s 1954 Musical

Stephen Sondheim was just 24 years old when he wrote three songs on spec for the Broadway-bound musical Saturday Night. It became his first post-collegiate musical. The show, based on the play Front Porch in Flatbush by Julius J. Epstein and Philip G. Epstein never made it to Broadway – then or now. Death, disease, and lack of funding all got in its way. The late 1990s saw both a London and Chicago production. In February of 2000 the show finally had its New York premiere to celebrate Sondheim’s 70th birthday. By then he had written Company (1970), Follies (1971), A Little Night Music (1973), Sweeney Todd (1979), Sunday in the Park with George (1984) and Into the Woods (1987) to name a few.

A Revised Brigadoon: An Important Musical Theater Milestone

Brigadoon at the Goodman Theatre, Chicago: Jamy Meek (Ensemble), Maggie Portman (Meg Brockie) and Richard Strimer (Ensemble)

Sacrilege! Impertinence! Brigadoon, that beloved 1947 Golden Age musical about a Scottish town that awakens only once a century, has been rewritten! Ignoring silent protests and fears of Brigadoon fans everywhere, the Goodman Theatre of Chicago is presenting a new production with a new book.

Hold on to your bagpipes—they made it even better.

Stephen Sondheim’s Follies at the Marquis Theatre on Broadway

Musical jelly beans are scattered all over Broadway. If well done, these shows are colorful and fun to eat. They taste good going down, give you a temporary high but ultimately are empty calories. They leave you with nothing.

Then there’s the current revival of Stephen Sondheim’s Follies. You might not be able to hum all its songs as you exit the theatre, but you’ll surely be thinking Sondheim, feeling Sondheim. And for many days to come you’ll be reflecting on all he has to say about human follies, relationships and, depending on your age, your own life choices

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