Utah Rep to Stage Utah Premiere of KISS OF THE SPIDER WOMAN

In their tradition of bringing unique shows to the Salt Lake theater community, Utah Repertory Theater Company will present the Utah premiere of the Tony-winning musical Kiss of the Spider Woman from April 21 through May 7.

Based on the Manuel Puig novel "El Beso de la Mujer Araña," Kiss of the Spider Woman depicts the daily conversations between two cellmates in an Argentine prison, homosexual Molina and revolutionary Valentín. Their only reprieve comes from Molina's stories about the "Spider Woman," a film actress named Aurora.

"Molina's obsession with the Spider Woman is incredibly compelling," says director Johnny Hebda. "The show takes a hard look at masculinity, femininity, and sexual identity. Those ideas still feel remarkably fresh in our world today."

This is Hebda's sixth directing project with Utah Rep. Like many of his previous works, the material is somewhat dark. "I am often drawn to darker, thought-provoking shows that make people reflect on their values," he says.

The production stars local favorites including Kenny Wayne Parrish as Molina, Juan Pereira as Valentín, and Erin Royall Carlson as the Spider Woman.

According to Hebda, the staging for Spider Woman will put audience members right into the prison. "My goal is to make the piece very immersive and in some ways almost claustrophobic for the audience," says Hebda. " I want them to feel as if they are in a neighboring prison cell peaking in on Molina and Valentín."

Kiss of the Spider Woman first opened on Broadway in 1993, where it won seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical. Utah Rep's production is only one of two taking place anywhere in the US during 2017.

Kiss of the Spider Woman will run Fridays and Saturdays from April 21 through May 6. Evening performances are at 7:30 pm, with Saturday matinee performances at 2:00. There will also be a special matinee performance on Sunday, May 7 at 3:00 pm. Tickets are $20.00 for adults and $17.00 for students and seniors and can be purchased online at www.utahrep.org. The Sorenson Unity Center is located at 1383 S 900 W, Salt Lake City, Utah.

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