Thursday, January 19, 2017

David Selby in SIAMESE CONNECTIONS, 1973

Believe it or not, DARK SHADOWS is not the weirdest thing David Selby has ever done.

Hot on the heels of NIGHT OF DARK SHADOWS, UP THE SANDBOX (with Barbara Streisand) and THE GIRL IN BLUE (opposite Maud "Octopussy" Adams), Selby appears on stage in SIAMESE CONNECTIONS. This is usually the point in the post where a blogger would start getting snarky, but SIAMESE CONNECTIONS was a production that defies snark. Hold onto your butts.

Written by Dennis J. Reardon, the production originated at the University of Michigan before finding its way to the Actor's Studio in New York with James Woods. It was the recipient of the 1971 Avery Hopwood Award for Drama.

SIAMESE CONNECTIONS made its mainstream debut in 1973 at the Public Annex Theater in New York. In that production, James Staley played a farm boy envious of his elder brother, played by our own David Selby. When his brother is killed in wartime battle, Staley goes all murder happy, offing his grandmother and a farm worker. Despite his character's death, Selby manages to remain an active participant in the story, returning as a ghost to haunt his brother.

SIAMESE CONNECTIONS also featured two perpetually geriatric actors: Roberts Blossom and William Hickey. Blossom went on to play a creepy old geezer in a number of movies, such as CHRISTINE, THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST and, most famously, HOME ALONE. He plays Selby's grandfather in this play.

The leathery voiced Hickey plays Selby's grandmother, a point which confused many critics. "Why a man?" asked Michael Smith in The Village Voice. "Are we moving back to an all-male theater?" You might have seen Hickey in PRIZZI'S HONOR, CHRISTMAS VACATION and as "Doctor Finklestein" in THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS.

SIAMESE CONNECTIONS ran for 64 performances, closing on March 4, 1973. You can see a selection of stills from the production below.

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