Best Musical Number (2009)

"Come Look at the Freaks," Side Show

Amid the thunderous chords of "Come Look at the Freaks," the first number in Side Show, the cast formed a ragged circle at the perimeter of the stage. Although their expressions varied — blank or determined, resigned or defiant — they were all looking at us, the audience. You, they seemed to say, you, sitting comfortably in your plush seat, you whose muscles move smoothly over bone, whose voice emerges from your throat uncracked and whose body responds unhesitatingly to your barely conscious demands. Perhaps it's you who's the freak — because of what you don't know, and the blind, heedless way you move through life, complaining when the bus is late or your coffee's a little bitter. Defiance, rage, even a hint of exultation — they were all part of this fierce, powerful number.


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