"Come Look at the "Freaks": The Complexities of Valorizing the "Freak" in Side Show

by Harrick, Stephen

Abstract (Summary)
The Broadway musical Side Show, by Bill Russell and Henry Krieger, focuses on real-life conjoined twins Daisy and Violet Hilton, performers in the middle part of the 20th century. Side Show dramatizes the Hilton’s rise to fame. Russell and Krieger’s presumed objective with Side Show is to represent Daisy and Violet as individuals, which they succeed at doing. However, Russell and Krieger specify that the performers playing Daisy and Violet be separated. Therefore, Side Show’s conjoined twins are not connected during the performance, taking away part of what made Daisy and Violet unique individuals. I begin with a brief overview of the historical Hilton sisters, then evaluating how Side Show succeeds and fails to valorize the Hilton twins. I conclude with a different way of performing the text than by following the specifications in the script, thereby offering a new mode to represent the “freaks” in Side Show.
Bibliographical Information:


School:Bowling Green State University

School Location:USA - Ohio

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:conjoined twins musical theatre freak shows american drama bakhtin side show


Date of Publication:01/01/2007

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