Attention, ladies & gentlemen: ‘Side Show’ opens July 19

A diverse cast of 13-to 21-year-olds, led by an unusual interracial pair, will take stage Friday, July 19, in the first of eight performances of Near West Theatre’s production of Side Show. Based on the true story of conjoined twins Violet and Daisy Hilton, who became stars during the Great Depression of the 1930s, Side Show is a moving portrait of two women whose extraordinary lives are intertwined with fame, freaks, and love. Told almost entirely in song, the show follows their progression from England to America, around the vaudeville circuit and to Hollywood on the eve of their appearance in the 1932 movie Freaks.

A volunteer cast of 37, including actresses of different races playing the twins, are led by a professional staff of directors, musicians, and designers. The show explores ideas of social acceptance, personal goals and dreams, love, and self-image — themes close to teens and young adults. Because of this, and as a result of Near West’s extraordinary emphasis on community building and personal sharing among actors, “this production will explode with vitality and immediacy,” says Director Bob Navis Jr.

The show will run July 19 through Aug. 4 at the St. Patrick’s Club Building, 3606 Bridge Ave., Cleveland. Tickets can be ordered online anytime or by phone at 216-961-6391 between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. weekdays. Any remaining tickets will be sold at the theater one hour before each performance. Below are member of the cast and the design team. — Devin Sweeney

Cast: Cheyenne Bizon, Billy Burke, Roderick Cardwell II (Jake), Sara Danielle, Olivia Clark, Oliver Deak, Sean Felder (Buddy Foster), Jeremy Feola (The Boss), Christian Flaherty, Warren Franklin, Audrey Fratus, Edward Gale, Nick Glavan, Jonathan Gruich (Terry Connor), Catherine Hall, Jalia Haralson, Alana Jarrell, Hannah Jarrell, Anna Kukelhan, Jane Medoro, Ben Mowrer, Gabriella Radak, Statia Rankin, Yousef Raslan, Eric Reising, Andy Schumann, Grace Schumann, Erin Sheplavy (Violet Hilton), CoCo Smith (Daisy Hilton), Devin Sudman, Caitlin Thompson, Jordan Thompson, Matthew Thompson, Dylan Toth, Jackie Uhlik, Craig Wischmeyer, Jessica Yates.

Production staff: Director: Bob Navis Jr. Music Director: Jordan Cooper. Choreographer: Ellen Rooney. Assistant Director: Cory Markowitz. Technical Director: Josh Padgett. Assistant Technical Director: Perren Hedderson. Stage Manager: Ryan Wolf. Set Designer: Laura Carlson Tarantowski. Costume, Hair & Makeup Designer: Heather Brown. Lighting Co-Designers: Erin Jones and Tom West. Sound Designer: Joshua Caraballo. Properties Master: Jessica Rosenlieb. Assistant Stage Managers: Alexa Jones and Daniel Krentz. Costumer & Makeup Assistant: Antoinette Kula. Assistant Sound Designer: Ray Monge. Props Assistant: Kate Atherton

Choreographer Ellen Rooney (front) works with the cast of Side Show at a June 2013 rehearsal. Photos by Cory Markowitz.

Choreographer Ellen Rooney (front) works with the Side Show cast in June. Photos by Cory Markowitz.

 The cast of Side Show circles up with Director Bob Navis Jr. (hands folded) at a June 2013 rehearsal.

The cast of Side Show circles up with Director Bob Navis Jr. (hands folded) at a June rehearsal.

 SIDE SHOW

Book and Lyrics by Bill Russell

Music by Henry Krieger

Vocal and dance arrangements by David Chase

Orchestrations by Harold Wheeler

Side Show is presented by special arrangement with SAMUEL FRENCH, INC.

Near West Theatre is grateful for regular program support from Cuyahoga Arts and Culture, the Ohio Arts Council and Greater Cleveland Community Shares.

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About Near West Theatre

Our Mission Statement: "Near West Theatre builds loving relationships and engages diverse people in strengthening their sense of identity, passion, and purpose, individually and in community, through transformational theatre arts experiences." View all posts by Near West Theatre

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