Favorite ThingsTheir Favorite Things: Side Show’s Bill Russell Shares His 10 Most Memorable Theatregoing ExperiencesFavorites of the lyricist and librettist include Lena Horne, Angela Lansbury, Hugh Jackman and more.
October 05, 2016
Bill Russell—the Tony-nominated lyricist and librettist of the critically acclaimed musical Side Show, which debuted on Broadway in 1997 and was revived in 2014—shares the performances that most affected him as part of the audience. Side Show, which concerns the lives of conjoined twins Violet and Daisy Hilton, will make its London bow October 21-December 3 starring Louise Dearman and Laura Pitt-Pulford at the Southwark Playhouse.
Lena Horne in The Lady and Her Music
Absolutely stunning. We saw it the night after opening when she had received reviews that were beyond glowing. In turn she positively glowed, and I will never forget it.
Alan Cumming in Cabaret
A revelation. The finest male performance I've ever seen in a musical.
Audra McDonald in Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill
Because of her classical training, I wasn't sure this was going to work, but within two seconds I thought Billie Holiday had returned from the grave. Completely mesmerizing.
Angela Lansbury in Sweeney Todd
She can do no wrong. But this performance was consummate. Funny, scary, the perfect fit of actor and role.
Mark Rylance — in everything — but in Boeing-Boeing if I had to pick one
I've seen everything he's done on Broadway and consider him our finest living stage actor. So hard to choose one role, but I always appreciate comedy. His Richard III was revelatory in that regard.
Al Pacino in American Buffalo
He is always electric on stage. This performance at Circle in the Square downtown was like having him perform in your living room.
Vanessa Redgrave in A Long Day's Journey Into Night
Hugh Jackman in Back on Broadway
We first discovered him in Oklahoma! in London and left asking, “Who was that guy playing Curly?” Soon, everyone knew. An all-around entertainer in this show, totally charming.
Matthew Broderick in Torch Song Trilogy
We saw it Off Off-Broadway when it ran over four hours. We liked the play a lot but again left asking, “Who was that kid?” I think he was 17, and it was a thrilling debut.
Kristin Chenoweth in On the Twentieth Century
Another perfect match of performer and role. I can't imagine anyone doing it better.