Parker Guidry as Molina
Darius TQ Colquitt as Valentin
Jessica Kingsdale as Aurora/The Spider Woman
With Courtney Mize, Gary Saipe, Lauren Miller, Justin Tsatsa, Dustin Rothbart, Chris Selefski, Cody Davis, Jacob Gilchrist, Brian Mengler
Valentin Arregui Paz and Luis Molina are unlikely cellmates in a prison. Valentin, a journalist, is a political prisoner, working for a leftist anti-government revolutionary group. While in prison, he is frequently tortured in order to cough up information on those with whom he is working, in which he refuses. Molina, a homosexual window dresser, is imprisoned on moral charges: “Corrupting a Minor.” To pass the time, Molina recounts movies with his favorite actress, Aurora. Molina and Valentin escape into the stories of Aurora, and the unlikely cellmates form an equally unlikely friendship. What Valentin does not know is that Molina has been co-opted by the prison warden and the secret police to befriend Valentin so that he can get information on and report back to them about the leftist group with which Valentin is working. Molina’s reward is early parole. The question becomes, whose side is Molina really supporting?
Kiss of the Spider Woman won the Tony Awards for Best Musical, Best Book, and Best Score when it debuted on Broadway, as well as a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Musical. A harrowing tale of torture and political oppression, this musical nonetheless embraces hope and the beauty of love.
Benevolent Theatre’s production of Kiss of the Spiderwoman is focused by one theme pulsing throughout, fantasy vs. reality. To create the necessary layers, Chicago’s strongest musical theatre minds will develop this theme based on facts, intimacy, desire, and beauty. The show centers on the physical location of an Argentinian prison, but the design of the space will be divided by abstract layers of white thread to create the Spiderwoman’s web and act as a symbol for the sense of puppetry controlling the players in this world.
Each element of the script, music, and characters are layered by the questions of reality. The leading characters of Molina, Valentin, Aurora, and the Warden are the driving force and the pulse of this production. The mission here is to create, with each of these characters, a higher force that dictates the physical and mental world of Spiderwoman. Molina uses fiction and fantasy to ground his reality; Valentin’s reality is created by the idealist goals of the fantastical revolution; Aurora acts as the elegant master puppeteer, that is then mirrored by the masculine and torturous Warden, dictating the fate of the world he lives in. Each character battles with the sense of realism and the fantasy world to create an emerging and dynamic story of Life, Death, Love, and Sacrifice.