KISS OF THE SPIDER WOMAN Cast & Creative Team Announced At The Lyric Stage

KISS OF THE SPIDER WOMAN Cast & Creative Team Announced At The Lyric StageFantasy and reality become tangled in a dark web in this smash musical by the songwriting team that penned Chicago and Cabaret. Kiss of the Spider Woman revamps a harrowing tale of persecution into a dazzling spectacle that juxtaposes gritty realities with liberating fantasies. Cellmates in a Latin American prison, Valentin is a tough Argentine revolutionary and Molina is an unapologetic homosexual serving eight years for deviant behavior. Molina escapes from the terrifying reality of prison life by sharing his fantasies about a mysterious 1940s movie star who takes on the role of a Spider Woman who can kill with a kiss.

FEATURING: Bernie Baldassaro, Johanna Carlisle-Zepeda*, Eddy Cavazos, Arthur Cuadros*, Taavon Gamble*, Arthur Gomez, Ricardo Holguin, Diego Klock-Pérez*, Davron S. Monroe*, Luis Negron*, Felton Sparks, Lance-Patrick Strickland, Lisa Yuen*, Katrina Zofia

Bernie Baldassaro (Ensemble) is making his Lyric Stage debut. Favorite credits include A Chorus Line, The Music Man, 42nd Street (Reagle Music Theatre), High School Musical 2, Cinderella (North Shore Music Theatre), Columbinus (Huntington Theatre), Thoroughly Modern Millie (Greater Boston Stage Co.), Anne of Green Gables (Wheelock Family Theatre), and Junie B. Jones (Cidermill Playhouse). This holiday season, Bernie will be spreading Christmas cheer across the country on the national tour of Elf the Musical! Proud alumni of Ithaca College with a B.F.A. in Musical Theatre. berniebaldassaro.com

Johanna Carlisle-Zepeda* (Molina's Mother) is a songstress, actor, and advocate for the arts, and is making her Lyric Stage debut. She has workshopped and taught everything theatre from Voice to Shakespeare and continues to mentor young artists through coaching. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Vocal Performance at Cornell College. She is also known for her involvement and dedication to the development of new works through acting and directing in numerous new work festivals. Most recently she did a reading of Dreaming in Cuban by Cristina Garcia in NYC. She is also currently developing a new piece about Ethel Merman. Her favorite regional theatre productions include In the Heights, The Clean, The Toxic Avenger, Fiddler on the Roof, Les Misérables, Steel Magnolias, Spitfire Grill, and Oliver! (Phoenix Symphony). Johanna also found great joy in performing in Next to Normal, Learn to Be Latina, The Rocky Horror Show. From Wheelock Family Theatre to Ft. Peck Summer Theatre to Phoenix Theatre, Johanna goes where the challenging work takes her. Johanna is a current member of Actors' Equity Association. She adores mixology, music, culture and traveling and currently resides in Phoenix, AZ. She has also fostered a great love of theatre and music in her immensely talented son, Maxx. Mad love to Rachel and Dan for allowing me to play this role and sing one of the best songs in musical theatre. Paul and Maxx, you make my world bright and beautiful. I love you.

Eddy Cavazos (Molina) is making his Lyric Stage debut. He most recently appeared in his solo cabaret, #Masc4Mascara, at Don't Tell Mama in NYC. Other credits include Manuel vs. The Statue of Liberty (The Gallery Players), White Christmas (Arts Center of Coastal Carolina), Junie B. Jones (Theatre Aspen), Peter and the Starcatcher (Theatre Aspen), Hairspray (All Star Theatre), and The Little Mermaid (Fiddlehead Theatre Company). He would like to thank the entire cast and creative team for their hard work, his family and friends for encouraging him to tell stories, and everyone who continuously supports the arts! M.F.A. from the Boston Conservatory. @yayitseddy

Arthur Cuadros* (Emilio/Ensemble) is making his Lyric Stage debut. Arthur studied extensively with Debbie Allen at her studio in Los Angeles. He continued his studies at Lompoc School, the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, and received a scholarship to the Alvin Ailey School of Dance in New York City. He has traveled the world dancing for Carnival Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean, and Princess Cruise Line. He was last seen at Boston's Shubert Theatre in Showboat (Fiddlehead Theatre Company). He has worked regionally at Moonlight Productions, Village Theatre (Seattle), San Diego Theatre, Merry-Go-Round Theatre, and numerous others. Arthur made his Boston choreographic debut with Priscilla Queen of the Desert in the fall of 2016 (Fiddlehead Theatre). Arthur is proud to be a producer on the Broadway production of Head Over Heels featuring the music of the Go Go's and Boston favorite Rachel York. He recently wrapped on his first feature film, Isn't it Romantic starring Rebel Wilson and Liam Hemsworth.

Taavon Gamble* (Valentin) is making his Lyric Stage debut. Tour: Seussical. Regional: Ragtime, Oklahoma! (Trinity Rep), The Scottsboro Boys (SpeakEasy Stage), North Shore Music Theatre, Greater Boston Stage Company, A Chorus Line (New Bedford Festival Theatre), Candide (Quantum Theatre), Theatre By The Sea, Ivoryton Playhouse, Reagle Music Theatre, The Hanover Theatre, Pittsburgh Musical Theatre, West Virginia Public Theatre and others. Point Park University graduate. Upcoming: A Christmas Carol at Trinity Repertory Theatre Company. www.taavongamble.com

Arthur Gomez (Ensemble) is making his Lyric Stage debut. Local Boston actor, Arthur studied at Salem State University and has been based in Boston ever since. His past credits include The Nether (Flat Earth Theatre Company), Lost Tempo (Boston Playwrights Theater), and Amadeus (Moonbox Productions). Thank you for supporting live theatre.

Ricardo Holguin (Gabriel/Ensemble) is making his Lyric Stage debut. He obtained his M.F.A. in Musical Theatre from The Boston Conservatory. Conservatory credits include Assassins, The Light in the Piazza, and HAIR. Boston credits include Man of La Mancha, Fiddler on the Roof (New Repertory Theatre), Altar Boyz (Stoneham Theatre), LaChiusa's The Wild Party (Moonbox Productions), and Guys and Dolls (Reagle Music Theatre). Other credits include The Who's Tommy, and Shrek the Musical (Laredo Theater Guild International). Ricky also had the privilege to be praised and workshopped by Richard Maltby, David Shire, Didi Conn, and Adam Guettel. Ricky is from Laredo, Texas and currently resides in East Boston. His next show will be 1776 in late fall (New Rep).

Diego Klock-Pérez* (Esteban) is making his Lyric Stage debut. Diego was born and raised in Miami, Fl. He was most recently seen in In the Heights (Wheelock Family Theatre. Favorite credits include The Odd Couple, A Chorus Line, and La Cage aux Folles (Summer Repertory Theatre, Santa Rosa). New World School of the Arts and the Boston Conservatory. Love is the answer. Special thanks to Linda Chin and Paul Daigneualt. diegoklockperez.com

Davron S. Monroe* (Marcos) is returning to the Lyric Stage after having appeared in The Wiz, Camelot, Company, My Fair Lady, City of Angels, Sweeney Todd, One Man, Two Guvnors, The Mikado, Avenue Q, and Ain't Misbehavin'. Musical theatre credits include The Little Mermaid (Company Theatre), Man of La Mancha (New Rep), Godspell (Moonbox Productions), Hairspray (Reagle Music Theatre), Dreamgirls, Jesus Christ Superstar, Children of Eden, Songs for a New World (premiere, Key West Symphony, Broadway Across America), Smokey Joe's Café, Cinderella, Streakin'!, a '70s musical revue, Sweet Charity, Brigadoon, and Show Boat. Cabaret: The All Night Strut. Opera: fully staged or concert/scene productions of Carmen, Treemonisha, Porgy and Bess, La finta giardiniera, Rigoletto, Lucia di Lammermoor, La fille du régiment, L'élisir d'amore, Così fan tutte, Die Fledermaus, The Tailor of Gloucester, The Gondoliers, Aida, and Die Zauberflöte. Davron premiered the role of Thomas Edison in Juventas's New Music Group production of Light and Power. He has also appeared with many orchestral and vocal organizations, such as Boston Landmarks Orchestra (Lost in the Stars - a celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the "I Have a Dream" speech, and The Chariot Jubilee), the First Church UU, Belmont, the Brevard Music Center (finalist, Orlando Opera's Heinz Rehfuss Singing Actor Awards), Disney Entertainment's Voices of Liberty, Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, Key West Symphony (young artist), Houston Ebony Opera Guild, the New England Spiritual Ensemble, New England Voices, the Longy School Orchestra, and many other organizations throughout the greater Boston area. Davron is the first recipient of the Bob Jolly Award for up-and-coming local actors.

Luis Negron* (Warden) returns to the Lyric Stage having performed here in Lisa Loomer's Living Out. Luis was last seen in Boston in In the Heights (Wheelock Family Theatre, IRNE and Elliot Norton Awards, Best Ensemble). Other credits include work with local companies such as the Huntington Theatre, Wellesley Rep, SpeakEasy Stage, New Rep, Seacoast Rep, Wellfleet Harbor Actors' Theatre, Merrimack Rep, Brandeis, Hibernian Hall, and Zeitgeist Stage. Luis has also collaborated with various companies to bring free Shakespeare to the parks of Cambridge. Past productions have included Othello, As You Like It, Macbeth, Pericles, A Midsummer Night's Dream, and Much Ado About Nothing. Next up after Kiss of the Spider Woman - 1776 at New Rep. Member: Actors' Equity Association, StageSource.

Felton Sparks (Ensemble) is making his Lyric Stage debut. Select Boston acting credits include O Beautiful, Lizzie Stranton, A Chorus Line, The Antigone Project, Stuart Little, and Les Liaisons Dangereuses. Sparks placed first runner up in the Jerry Herman Awards LA 2014 for Leading Male Singer and was nominated for Best Choreography. Last summer he choreographed the world premiere production of The Midvale High School Fiftieth Reunion (Nora Theatre Company), which has since been produced by The Public Theatre in NYC. He recently danced with Anna Myer's BeHeard.World Company in their new show The Body Language Project. He recently graduated Emerson College with a B.F.A. in Theatre and Performance with a minor in Dance. Many thanks to my teachers, my friends, my love, and my parents for pushing me and believing in me.

Lance-Patrick Strickland (Ensemble) returns to the Lyric Stage having appeared as a Munchkin in last season's The Wiz. He is a graduate of Boston Conservatory with a B.F.A. in Musical Theater. Some of his previous Boston credits include Carousel (Reagle Music Theater), Catch Me if You Can (Boston Conservatory), In the Heights (Wheelock Family Theater), and Disney's Beauty and the Beast (Wheelock Family Theater). He would like to thank his family and friends for always giving him endless encouragement in all of his endeavors.

Lisa Yuen* (Spiderwoman/Aurora) returns to the Lyric Stage having previously appeared in Into the Woods, Sweeney Todd, and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Local credits include The King and I (North Shore Music Theatre), Mary Poppins (Wheelock Family Theatre), Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Theatre by the Sea), and New Rep. Other credits include seven and a half years on Broadway (Miss Saigon, ...Spelling Bee), four national tours (The King and I, Flower Drum Song, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Pirates of Penzance), Off-Broadway, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, regional theatre (including Paper Mill Playhouse, The MUNY, PCLO, and Sacramento Music Circus ), and TV/film (including 23 episodes as "Rachel" on All My Children, Body of Proof, The Martha Stewart Show, World Trade Center). Brookline mom to twins. B.A. from UCLA. Thanks to Mom, Kevin, and family. Upcoming: Ragtime (Wheelock Family Theatre).

Katrina Zofia (Marta) is from Providence, RI and is making her Lyric Stage debut. She is a proud graduate of Providence College where she received a B.A in Theatre Arts, History, and Women's Studies and is currently in her final year at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee studying for her M.F.A in Musical Theatre. Some of her favorite credits include: Another Roll of the Dice (Boson Conservatory), Cabaret (Moonbox Productions), Seussical and In the Heights (Wheelock Family Theatre), Spring Awakening (Wilbury Theatre Group), Cyrano, and Much Ado About Nothing (Mutiny Theatre Project). She would like to thank her family and friends for all their support and love. Instagram: @katrinazofia.

Rachel Bertone (Director/Choreographer) returns to the Lyric Stage after directing and choreographing Gypsy last season. Direction/Choreography: Carousel (IRNE Award, Best Choreography), In the Heights (IRNE Award Best Musical), The Wild Party (IRNE Award Best Musical), Cabaret, Barnum, Show Boat, Musical of Musicals, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Brundibar, But the Giraffe, and Creative License. Recent choreography credits: West Side Story, Guys and Dolls, Billy Elliot, My Fair Lady, South Pacific, Les Misérables, A New Brain, Floyd Collins, Lucky Stiff, The Marvelous Wonderettes, Company, Camelot, City of Angels, Big River, and Animal Crackers. Assistant Director credits: Fiddler on the Roof, Les Misérables, South Pacific, and Bye, Bye, Birdie. Bertone has served on the faculties of The Boston Conservatory at Berklee, Emerson College, and The American Repertory Theater Institute at Harvard University. She holds a B.F.A. from The Boston Conservatory. Special thanks to Spiro for his mentorship and continued collaborations.

Dan Rodgriguez (Music Director)

Janie E. Howland** (Scenic Design) has called the Lyric Stage home for 25 years, recently having designed Gypsy, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, and Anna Christie. Other recent designs: Dancing at Lughnasa (Gloucester Stage), A Piece of my Heart (Wellesley Rep), Art Makes Sense CONSENSES Exhibit (Mass MOCA), 1984 (BCT). Other shows include Cabaret (Moonbox Theatre), The Owl Answers (Harvard), Urban Nutcracker (Tony Williams Dance Center). Other venues include Lynn Redgrave Theatre (NY), Emerson Majestic, New Rep, Weston Playhouse, North Shore Music Theatre, Odyssey Opera, Central Square Theatre, ASP, Speakeasy Stage Company, Ohio Star Theatre, A.R.T. Institute, Boston Conservatory, Company One, Stoneham Theatre, Seacoast Rep, Merrimack Repertory Theatre, New Jersey Shakespeare Festival, and Huntington Theatre Studio 210. Brandeis University M.F.A.; four-time Elliot Norton Award winner, four-time IRNE Award winner, adjunct faculty at Emerson College, Wellesley College. USA Local 829. janiehowland.com

Marian Bertone (Costume Design) has been designing costumes in the Boston area for over 30 years. She was the costume designer at The Boston Conservatory at Berklee (dance), Walnut Hill School (dance and theater), Prometheus Dance, and Jose Mateo's Ballet Theater. Theater credits include Barnum (IRNE Award, Best Costume Design), The Wild Party, Musical of Musicals, Cabaret (Moonbox Productions), In the Heights (Wheelock Family Theater), 42nd Street, Anything Goes, West Side Story, Grease, Once On This Island, Spring Awakening, and numerous plays including, The Cripple of Inishmaan, Dead Man's Cell Phone, and Vanya and Sonya and Mash and Spike (Walnut Hill School). Ballet credits include several Nutcrackers, Balanchine's Serenade and Who Cares, numerous original classical and contemporary repertory pieces, and remounts of Mark Morris' Gloria, Doug Varone's Lux, and Joe Cvala's The Red Walls.

Franklin Meissner, Jr.** (Lighting Design) returns to the Lyric Stage after designing the lighting for Gypsy, Company, Peter and the Starcatcher, Sweeney Todd (IRNE award), By the Way, Meet Vera Stark, Avenue Q, Ain't Misbehavin', The Understudy, and According To Tip. His work has also been seen Off and Off-Off Broadway in NYC, at the Boston Playwrights' Theatre (IRNE Award), New Repertory Theatre (three IRNE Awards), Wheelock Family Theatre (Elliot Norton Award), The Boston Conservatory, Stoneham Theatre, SpeakEasy Stage, Northeastern University, Central Square Theatre, the North Shore Music Theatre, the SouthShore Music Circus, Sanders Theatre, various corporate events and colleges around the state, and at 40 Carnegie Hall performances. Mr. Meissner is a member of United Scenic Artists. For Abby. FranklinMeissner.com

Andrew Duncan Will (Sound Design) previously designed Gypsy, Murder For Two, Company, Sondheim on Sondheim, Dear Elizabeth, Sweeney Todd, Into The Woods, and One Man Two Guvnors for the Lyric Stage. Recent local sound designs include productions for Boston Public Works, Stoneham Theatre, Fresh Ink, Hasty Pudding, SpeakEasy Stage, Bad Habit Productions, Flotsam Productions, Gloucester Stage, Puppet Showplace Theater, Company One, New Rep, Fresh Ink, Commonwealth Shakespeare, The Poets' Theatre, and the A.R.T. Institute. Andrew received an M.F.A. in Sound Design from Boston University.

Johnathan Carr (Projection Design) returns to the Lyric Stage after designing By the Way, Meet Vera Stark, Into the Woods, Red Hot Patriot, City of Angels, and Hold These Truths. Boston design credits include An Octoroon (Company One), HEAR WORD!, Pippin (American Repertory Theater), The Man Who (Harvard), Searching for Signal (ToUch Performance Art). New York: H4 (Resonance Ensemble), Same River (Strike Anywhere Performance Ensemble). He currently teaches at Harvard College's Theater, Dance, and Media concentration with fellow show designer Andrew Duncan Will.

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