Thursday, November 8, 2012

                          Kiss of the Spider Woman
                                           Vintage Theatre: 10/27 – 12/2
                                          Megan Van De Hey as Aurora
     Heartbreaking and haunting, director Craig Bond’s production of “Kiss of the Spider Woman” is one you really must see… and hear.
     The musical had just about everything going for it by the time it hit Broadway. Music by Kander and Ebb (“Cabaret” and “Chicago”) book by Terrence McNally (“Ragtime” and “The Full Monty”) and all based on the highly successful novel by Manuel Puig. Besides winning multiple Drama Desk and Olivier Awards, “Kiss” snagged Tonys for Best Musical, Best Score and Best Book for a Musical.
     It’s the story of two men caged in a Latin American prison cell. Molina is a homosexual window dresser who’s been jailed for eight years for “corrupting a minor.” He clouds the ugly reality of prison life by escaping into fantasies involving memories of Aurora, a movie diva who once frightened him as a vampy film character called the spider woman who killed with her kiss.
     Molina’s cellmate is Valentin, a virile revolutionary type who’s been captured and tortured for his Marxist leanings.
     The show takes place entirely in the tiny claustrophobic prison cell and then expands into the sprawling Cinemascope fantasies conjured up in Molina’s imagination.
     The cast is huge and the chorus includes some seasoned dancers and a number of cute new chorus boys. Director Craig Bond has brought in Ron “Ronnie” Marriott, a choreographer who has worked for many years on Broadway to give the choreography for this show that sensibility needed to conjure up memories of the sweep of those big old nostalgic musicals of yester-year. The music is infectious and Mitch Samu’s musical direction makes it indelibly so.
     Megan Van de Hey’s performance of Aurora, The Spider Woman, is so outrageously well done the memory of her work will be forever etched in your mind. With every syncopated beat she gives us movement a la the physiology of the female spider. Here is yet another coup de theatre performed by this brilliant actor. Her performance is creepy, unsettling and you will not be able to take your eyes off of her.
     Brian Merz-Hutchinson’s portrayal of Valentin is a brilliant tour de force. Powerful and gut-wrenching, Merz-Hutchinson’s arc from homophobic disgust to a tender affection for his cellmate Molina is out pictured with a gritty brio that very few actors in our community could match. His performance of the heart-pounding anthem, “The Day After That,” will put you in mind of those glorious anthems in “Les Mis.”
     L to R: Julie Lemieux, Gabe Morales, Brian Merz-Hutchinson and Deborah Persoff

         Gabe Morales provides us with an endearing portrait of Molina, the gay window dresser who has been imprisoned because of his sexual orientation. Morales creates a strikingly complex character whose love for Valentin and for his mother entangle him in a web of love and delusion.
     Deborah Persoff plays Molina’s mother with a gentling almost ritualistic compassion as she mirrors his (Molina’s) gestures with her own and soothes him by clouding the ugly realities of prison life with her attentive presence. (It’s interesting to note that the writing of this character provided the Broadway musical theatre with its first portrait of a mother who unconditionally loves and accepts her gay son.)
       Julie Lemieux is remarkable in the role of Valentin’s wife, Marta. Ms. Lemieux is an actor with real stage presence. Although her role is small her impact is significant and one looks forward to seeing her again soon upon the boards.
     The singing of the quartet, “Dear One” by Ms. Persoff, Ms. Lemieux , Merz-Hutchinson and Morales is profoundly moving.
     Preston Britton stands out in the ensemble of prisoners, as do Brian Walker-Smith and Brian Murray in that of the guards and warden.
     Sean Cochrane’s very fine set design deconstructs from the ugly experience of the prison cell to the sprawling movie musical fantasy that Molina conjures.
     Not to be missed!
Vintage Theatre presents

Kiss of the Spider Woman 
The complex relationship between two men caged together in a Latin American prison is explored.
Oct. 27 - Dec. 2
Fri/Sat at 7:30 p.m.; Sun at 2:30 p.m.
Fri/Sat $30; Sun $25 303-856-7830 or online at
NEW Vintage Theatre, 1468 Dayton St., Aurora 80010

No comments:

Post a Comment