Events | Chattanooga Now | Ensemble Theatre of Chattanooga Presents "Side Show: The Musical"

Ensemble Theatre of Chattanooga Presents "Side Show: The Musical"

Price: $17 - $20


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Kicking off the 2019 season, Ensemble Theatre of Chattanooga will present the musical SIDE SHOW by Bill Russell and Henry Krieger. SIDE SHOW was a cult favorite, though short lived, musical from the 1996 season on Broadway. It follows the lives and loves of the famous Siamese Twins Daisy and Violet Hilton. The Hilton Twins, conjoined only by a link of flesh near the hips, were staples of the Side Show Circuit in Europe, Australia and America from their childhood. Their talents, along with several manipulative managers and wards, propelled them from the side show into vaudeville and then eventually into motion pictures. The musical, SIDE SHOW, takes a biographical perspective of the sisters' rise to fame.

"On the surface, this is a simple show about the complex lives of these two women. But there's a deeper message that is explored within the show that specifically appealed to me," mentions show director Garry Lee Posey. "As a society, there is a tendency to marginalize and push people to the fringe for one reason or another. I think its deeper than gender, race and sexual identity. It is almost as if everyone is a freak to someone, freakishly attractive or freakishly devout or freakishly loyal, and so on." While the setting of the musical starts in the tents of the side show, we start to see how the sisters found ways, though not always easy, to assimilate into a society that wasn't always welcoming.

Garry adds, "I watched a documentary about the sisters, called BOUND BY FLESH, and at the end of the documentary it described the last few years of Daisy's and Violet's lives. The tragic ending of their story, which isn't really touched upon in text of the musical, I found to be both heartbreaking and inspiring." The last manager of the twins booked them on a gig in North Carolina, an appearance and autograph signing at a screening of their film FREAKS. He abandoned them, penniless. They managed to find a job at a local supermarket in North Carolina where they continued to be an attraction for the locals, sharing their stories while weighing produce. While both succumbed to a serious flu epidemic, Daisy died a couple of days before Violet. After not showing up to work, the police were summoned and discovered the twins dead. "Imagining those hours of sitting alone, not able to move, sick with the flu and mourning the death of your conjoined twin, had a powerful impact me and gave new meaning to the show's final number," relays Posey.

As with most of their work, ETC has added its unique brand of storytelling to this production. "It will be the largest production we have attempted to date," mentions senior producer Casey Keelen. With over 20 in the cast and an orchestra of 11, ETC is hoping to continue raising the bar for live theatrical experiences in the Chattanooga area. "We have made a commitment to contributing and enhancing the cultural landscape in Chattanooga, we want to continue making good on that commitment," finished Keelen.

SIDE SHOW will play for only 6 performances at the Barking Legs Theatre. Opening Friday, Feb. 8, and closing Saturday, Feb. 16. Performance times and ticket prices can be found online at or by visiting our Facebook page.

Ensemble Theatre of Chattanooga presents SIDE SHOW:
Feb 8 at 7:30, Feb 9 at 7:30, Feb 10 at 2:30, Feb 14 at 7:30, Feb 15 at 7:30, and Feb 16 at 7:30.
General Admission $20; Senior Citizens $17; Students $17

The show carries a PG13 rating
Directed and Production Designed by Garry Lee Posey, with Music Direction by Terry Sanford, Choreography by Maggie Williams and is Stage Managed by Joel Sanchez.

Barking Legs Theater, 1307 Dodds Ave, Chattanooga, TN 37404
423-987-5141 for ticket information


1307 Dodds Avenue - Chattanooga, TN 37404

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