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April 12, 2001 - Image 9

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2001-04-12

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.


AVi needs English dass?
Francine Prose brings her
scathing remarks about English
academia to Shaman Drum
when she reads from her novel
"Blue Angel" at 8 p.m.
michigandaily.com/arts

A d

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IM11W 4

THURSDAY
APRIL 12, 2001

9A

Famed siamese
sisters make their
mark in 'Side Show'

Original voices fill
'Speaking' anthology

B utumn Brown
D Arts Writer
Barely off of Broadway, the Uni-
versity's Musical Theater Depart-
ment takes great pride in presenting
its crowning achievement of the
year, "Side Show," the touching
story of two sisters in search of
love and fame.
"Side Show" is based on the lives
ole famed Hilton sisters - real-

Side
Show
Power Center
Through April 15th

life Siamese
twins. Leslie
Henstock,
Musical The-
ater junior and
Cian Coey,
Musical The-
ater Senior star
as Daisy and
Violet Hilton..
The Hilton
sisters were
born in 1908 to
an unmarried
barmaid. After
they were aban-

" J
k

doned by their mother, the twins
were sold to Mary Hilton, who
trained them to sing, dance and
play instruments for the public.
After making it big in Europe,
t twins met with equal success in
the United States and eventually
starred in two B-films, "Freaks"
(1932) and "Chained for Life"
(1951).
The theatrical production of the
Hilton girls' story was the brain-
child of writer and lyricist, Bill
Russell, best known for "Pageant."
Russell was fascinated with the
story, and brought his idea to Henry
Krieger, who had won Tony Awards
fWis scores for "Dreamgirls" and
"The Tap Dance Kid."
After Krieger agreed to take on
the project, it was only a matter of
auditions and rehearsals before
"Side Show" was able to open on
Broadway in October of 1997.
To bring authenticity to the psy-
chological and personal aspects of
the Hilton sisters, Russell inter-
*wed a woman who had kept
some of the sisters' personal
belongings.
Given the unusual nature of the
subject matter, it was not surprising
that the critics were expectant when
"Side Show" opened.
}Unfortunately, the critics were
disappointed as "Side Show"
received Tony Award nominations
fair best musical score and book of

a musical, but failed to garnish
even modest success at the box
office.
Incidentally, it was only after ral-
lies were held in Time Square to
encourage people to see the show,
and the cast guest-starred on "The
Rosie O' Donnell Show" that ticket
sales improved.
Henstock and Coey believe that
the disappointing sales record was
due in part to advertising. "Many
(people) may be weirded out by the
concept of Siamese twins, because
the discomforts and problems that
they face at first appear hard to
relate to, and it's not what you
expect. But there is a way to bring
out the inevitable truth of the mat-
ter which is that there is a freak in
* all of us," they said.
"I think audiences will go into it
wondering if they will like it, but I
think that they will love it," said
Coey. "And it helps that there are a
few songs that will leave the audi-
ences singing after the performance
like 'I'll Never Leave You."'
"It is definitely an emotional
roller-coaster," adds Henstock. To
get a feel for the part, Henstock and
Coey once spent a night pinned
together by their pajamas. The
night included a trip to Blockbuster
where the public's fascination with
the unusual did not disappoint
them.
"Of course they knew that we
weren't really attached but it was
still funny to see their reaction," the
two women reported. Surprisingly
enough, Henstock and Coey are
never actually attached, at any time
during the performances.
As an added bonus, Bill Russell
has made a special visit to the Uni-
versity to witness the performance
of his masterpiece. "(The) director
has close connections with (Rus-
sell) and has been able to commu-
nicate ideas and interpretations,"
Henstock said.
During the dancing numbers, as
well as the other scenes, the two
women either link arms or pretend
to be joined at the hip to create the
illusion that they are Siamese
twins.
Both Henstock and Coey were
fortunate to be given the opportuni-
ty to play such unusual characters.
"This is a once in a lifetime
part," Henstock said, "This is due
in part to the scarcity of compari-
son models. There is little to go on.
To date only one CD of the musical

By Marie Bemard
Daily Arts Writer
So, this book costs $12, it contains
12 stories and all the proceeds go to
charity. About half of these stories are
really wonderful and two contain con-
troversial Ian-
"'*guage in their
title. One of the
Sw longest stories is
not actually writ-
the ANge ten by a writer,
Nick Hornby (Editor) but rather by a
Grade: 5+ British film actor.
Riverhead Books Considering
all of "Speaking
with the Angel's"
occasional short-
comings and
obvious benefits,
the book is worth
your time and
money. It's a fantastic compilation of
stellar and original voices and all prof-
its go to benefit education for children
with autism.
This anthology, compiled by Nick
Hornby, could function as a "Who's
Who" of new, young writers - in par-
ticular new, young, British writers. All.
stories are written from the viewpoint
of first-person narrators.
The book is worthwhile even just for
Hornby's own story, "Nipple Jesus," a
security guard's tale of his experience
watching over a controversial work of
art. The guard, who takes the job
because his one skill is being "big,"
offers a fresh and humorous perspec-
tive on the nature of shock-value art.
Hornby, whose memoir about being a
football fan launched his career, has an
acute talent for turning ordinary narra-
tors into exceptional storytellers.
Dave Eggers, the funniest living man
on this planet, has contributed "Before
I Was Thrown Into the River and After
I Was Drowned," a story from the point
of view of a dog. The writing is inge-
nious, clever and witty. Any story that
opens with the lines: "Oh, I'm a fast
dog. I'm fast-fast. It's true and I love
being fast I admit it I just love*it. You
know fast dogs. Dogs that just run by
and you go 'Damn! That's a Fast

Dog!"' is a good story. Trust me,
Eggers knows what he's doing. Every-
one should spend an extra $12 on his
novel/memoir, "A Heartbreaking Work
of Staggering Genius," which just
came out in paperback.
Several other stories definitely worth
mentioning are "The Wonder Spot" by
Melissa Banks ("A Girls Guide to
Hunting and Fishing"), "Peter Shelley"
by Patrick Marber (the playwright of
"Closer") and "I'm the Only One" by
Zadie Smith ("White Teeth").
Irvine Welsh ("Trainspotting") inter-
rogates life's underbelly and is, per
usual, wry, crass and inventive. His
"Catholic Guilt (You know you love
it)" is consistent with the quality dis-
played in "The Acid House," his own
anthology of short stories.
The biggest disappointment was
Helen Fielding's "Luckybitch."
Although "The Bridget Jones Diary"
warmed the heartstrings of any Diet
Coke-and-romantic-comedy loving
soul, this story could barely keep any-
one's attention. That could be because
it was about an old self-centered per-
son instead of a young self-centered
person.
The anthology also features stories
by Robert Harris ("Fatherland"),
Roddy Doyle ("Paddy Clarke Ha Ha
Ha") and Colin Firth (that's the "moiie
guy;" from "Fever Pitch").

Daisy (Leslie Henstock) and Violet (Clan Coey): Two sisters who are literally
attached at the hip.

score exists."
In addition, both women agree
that the Musical Theater Depart-
ment is an accurate simulation of
the entertainment industry. "So
many people are good; it is defi-
nitely competitive," said Coey.
Both women seem to be intent on
proving their worth as they have
made a difficult commitment to the
performance and all of its accom-
panying stress. They have rehearsal
every day of the week except Satur-
day, and these practices usually run
between four and five hours long.
Unlike supporting characters,
Henstock and Coey are on stage
during the majority of the
rehearsal. "We don't have any down
time, and are not able to sit down,
eat or go to the bathroom," said
Coey.
In addition to extensive

rehearsals, Henstock and Coey also
have regular classes. The two
women's source of energy seems to
reside in the fact that for the oppor-
tunity to be on stage, it is all worth
it.
"We want to be performing,
regardless," Henstock said.

.

,.

A look at the
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Rush 'flets on sale beginning 90 minutes before the event
ahe Performance Nall Box Office.

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