Kiss of the Spider Woman is a musical with music by John Kander and Fred Ebb, book by Terrence McNally. It is based on the Manuel Puig novel El Beso de la Mujer Araña. The musical had runs in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1995, in Toronto, Canada (Canstage 1992), the West End (1992), and Broadway (1993) and won the 1993 Tony Award for Best Musical.
The show opened in New York to mixed reviews. Despite a pan by Frank Rich, the musical ran for a solid 904 performances.
One day, a new man is brought in his cell: Valentin Arregui Paz, a Marxist revolutionary, already in a bad state of health after torture. Molina cares for him and tells him of Aurora. But Valentin can't stand Molina and his theatrical fantasies and draws a line on the floor to stop Molina from coming nearer to him. Molina, however, continues talking, mostly to block out the cries of the tortured prisoners, about Aurora and his mother. Valentin at last tells Molina that he is in love with a girl named Marta.
Again, Valentin is tortured, again Molina has to care for him afterwards. In his fantasies, Aurora is next to him, helping him do so.
The prison director announces to Molina that his mother is very ill and that Molina will be allowed to see her. Condition: He must tell the name of Valentin's girlfriend.
Molina tells Valentin about his love: A waiter named Gabriel. Only a short while afterwards, Molina gets hallucinations and cramps after knowingly eating poisoned food intended for Valentin. He is brought to the hospital ward, talking to Aurora and his mother. As Molina is brought back, Valentin starts suffering from the same symptoms, also from poisoned food. Molina is afraid that Valentin will be given substances that might make him talk and so protects Valentin from being taken to the hospital. As Molina nurses him, Valentin asks him to tell him about his movies.
Molina is happy to do so; Valentin also shares his fantasies and hopes with Molina. Molina is allowed a short while at the telephone with his mother, back he announces to Valentin that he's going to be freed for his good behaviour the next day. Valentin begs him to do a few telephone calls for him, Molina at first refuses, but Valentin knows how to persuade his cell mate...
Molina is brought back the next day, heavily injured. He has been caught in the telephone call, but refuses to tell whom he has phoned. The warden draws his pistol, threatening to shoot him, if he doesn't tell. Molina confesses his love to Valentin and is shot. Aurora bends over him and gives her deadly kiss.
Kiss of the Spider Woman first opened on the West End at the Shaftesbury Theatre on October 20 1992, where it ran for 390 performances. Directed by Harold Prince with choreography by Rob Marshall it featured Brent Carver as Molina, Anthony Crivello as Valentin, and Chita Rivera as Spider Woman/Aurora.The production won the Evening Standard Award for Best Musical.
It opened on Broadway at the Broadhurst Theatre on May 3 1993 and closed on July 1, 1995 after 904 performances. Directed by Harold Prince, with choreography by Vincent Paterson and Rob Marshall, the cast included Brent Carver, Anthony Crivello and Chita Rivera repeating their roles, as well as Merle Louise and Kristy Carnahan. Carver, Crivello, and Rivera won Tony Awards for their performances. Replacements included: Brian Stokes Mitchell (Valentin), Howard McGillin and Jeff Hyslop (Molina); and, as Aurora: Maria Conchita Alonso, Vanessa L. Williams, and Carol Lawrence.
It was revived at the Donmar Warehouse in London, running from April 2007 through May 2007 and featured Will Keen (Molina) and Rupert Evans (Valentin).