In choosing the opening show of Actor’s Express’ 25th anniversary season, Freddie Ashley knew he wanted a production that would register, a large scale show with “some heft.” He has chosen the gay-themed musical “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” opening Aug. 22.
Manuel Puig’s 1976 novel is about two cellmates in a Buenos Aires prison: Luis Molina and Valentín Arregui, who are polar opposites. Valentin is a revolutionary trying to overthrow the government, while Molina is openly gay and effeminate, in jail for sexual relations with a minor.
The novel was turned into a 1983 play, then a 1985 film which won William Hurt a Best Actor Oscar as Molina.
With a book by Terrence McNally and music and lyrics by John Kander and Fred Ebb (“Cabaret,” “Chicago”), a musical version of “Spider Woman” opened on Broadway in 1993 and won a slew of Tony Awards, including one for gay icon Chita Rivera, who starred as the infamous titular character.