The Tony Award-winning musical “Kiss of the Spider Woman” opens at the Theatre UCF Main Stage on Oct. 16 and runs through Oct. 26.
The music for “Kiss of the Spider Woman” was written by John Kander and Fred Ebb, the composer/lyricist team who also scored “Cabaret,” “Chicago” and “Curtains,” and the script is by “Ragtime” playwright Terrance McNally. It is based on a novel by Argentinian writer Manuel Puig.
The story centers around the relationship between two prisoners, Molina and Valentin, in a Latin American jail. Molina is a homosexual who dreams of being a woman, and Valentin is a political revolutionary. Molina tells stories about Aurora, a legendary actress as a means of escaping the brutal realities of life in prison.
Senior BFA musical theatre major, Kyle Wilkinson, plays the role of Molina. “This is the hardest role I’ve performed. It’s very dark, very heavy,” he said. “Molina has fantasies of the Spider Woman—she symbolizes death and he is terrified and obsessed with her. “Kiss of the Spider Woman” isn’t just about two people in prison, it’s about what humanity does to survive.”
Director Mark Brotherton is focusing on the themes of escapism in this musical. “To some degree, all musicals depend on a suspension of belief. But when a musical [such as “Kiss of the Spider Woman”] is purposefully set in a fantasy world, it becomes more believable and we realize why people go to musicals and movies—to escape their own lives.”
The story contains violence, profanity and abuse, and patrons should be prepared for some uncomfortable moments. But just as the prisoners use their imaginations to escape, the writers of “Kiss of the Spider Woman” have included moments for the audience to escape into a fantastical world of vibrant music and electrifying dance.
Choreographer John Rudell, a senior in the BFA Musical Theatre program, fused several styles of dance into this production. “The choreography reflects classic Broadway dance, but is also heavily Latin influenced with inspiration from tango, flamenco, paso doble, and salsa dance styles,” he said. “It is very sensual.”
Senior Abby Jaros, also a senior in the BFA Musical Theatre program, is playing the role of Aurora/Spider Woman. “Theatre UCF hasn’t staged a musical with this level of dance since I’ve been here,” she said. “Being in this show has proven to me that I can be a song and dance woman. I’ve danced my whole life, but now I can’t see my life without adding the singing and acting component to that.”
Production at a glance:
Kiss of the Spiderwoman
Directed by Mark Brotherton
“Kiss of the Spider Woman” won the Tony Awards for Best Musical, Best Book, and Best Score when it debuted on Broadway.
Oct. 16, 17, 18*, 23, 24, 25* at 8 p.m.
Oct. 19, 26 at 2 p.m.
$20 standard, $18 senior, $10 student
Main Stage, 4000 Central Florida Blvd., Orlando
*There is a UCF home football game on Saturdays, Oct. 18 and 25. Parking for these performances will be in Lot B-4. Allow for extra travel time.
For more information about Theatre UCF, visit http://theatre.ucf.edu.