After Nine Years, Alice Ripley Reunites Onstage With Side Show Costar Emily Skinner
In 1997, Alice Ripley and Emily Skinner set Broadway ablaze with their electrifying performances as the conjoined twins Violet and Daisy Hilton in the musical Side Show. The production was famously short-lived, though it garnered the pair a joint Tony Award nomination for Best Actress in a Musical. This was only the start. Their work relationship blossomed into three shared albums (four if you count the Side Show cast recording), as well as countless concerts.
It's been nearly nine years since the pair last performed together in New York, and now they're getting ready to take the stage together again. Unattached will reunite the pair at Feinstein's/54 Below, February 3-6. In anticipation of the event, the Tony-winning Ripley shared her excitement for the shows and offered a preview of her next Broadway gig, American Psycho.
It's been nine years since you and Emily last performed together in New York City, and nearly twenty since Side Show originally opened. This concert feels like it's going to bring back so many memories.
That's the thing. When the decades pass and you're working in this business, the audiences get older with you. That's the nice part about it. They're so supportive and so loving. You get to have your own little nostalgic trip while you're watching this and listening to us.
What was the impetus for this concert?
It was partly popular demand. People have been asking us to sing again for a long time. Mostly, we just want to. It's been too long since we did. I've sung with hundreds and hundreds of people, but nothing is like when I sing with her.
Why is that?
I feel like I become a better singer and performer. There's a better sound. You really are giving and taking, because there's a relationship going on. That happens every time we're standing next to each other. When we matched up with each other in our audition for Side Show, I remember, she had been playing Daisy for several workshops, and I was the new one. And yet, right away, there was something that was plugged in. There's something magical that happens with her. And I think it has to do with the audience. Their support is key to the performance that you're watching.
So in Unattached we can expect that there will be songs from '"Side Show''?
Some of the songs are duets from Side Show, and then we sing the song about how we don't want to be together anymore, "Leave Me Alone," and then we take turns doing solos.
Sunset Boulevard makes an appearance on your list of solos, but not a song many would expect.
I was in the original cast of Sunset Boulevard. I played Betty. But I wasn't on the cast album. They made the cast album in Los Angeles before they came to Broadway, and Judy Kuhn, who was playing the role, got pregnant, so I became the Betty. And I would always wish to be the right age to play Norma. I knew that it was going to be a while, because it was more than twenty years ago, but now's kind of the time. So I'm going to sing one of her songs, which is such a thrill for me.
You're returning to Broadway this spring. What can you tell us about American Psycho?
We start rehearsal in a couple of weeks. I just got the script the other day. It's really exciting. I'm a huge fan of the book and the movie. I'm so grateful and honored to be the one who gets to play [Patrick Bateman's] mother. They're adding this character. The mother isn't in the book or the movie.
The book is notoriously difficult, but the movie is a really fun watch.
I know! It's hard to read, isn't it? I think that's a good thing. You have to put it down and walk away. But Christian Bale in the movie, he makes it so accessible and he's so funny. That humor is probably going to go through the show and make you think about your own motivations, perhaps. But the character of the mother is being added for our show, which his really cool. You get to see the roots of where he's coming from. That might help you understand a little bit more.
And you get to reunite with your Next to Normal daughter, Jennifer Damiano.
She's playing Jean! That's actually my favorite part. I get to go to work and see her. And I don't have to be bipolar when I'm seeing her. I can just be like a regular mom. [laughs]