GOOD MORNING BROADWAY FANS! Are you ready once more for another showstopper on our TOP 40 TONY AWARDS COUNTDOWN? We are only just 37 DAYS away till The 73rd Annual Tony Awards. This is getting us hyped for Broadway?s biggest night. Anyway, here comes another iconic performance from a previous telecast.
At # 37 on our countdown, we make our way to a prison cell in Argentina. There, we meet an Argentine revolutionary and a gay man who are cell mates. Behind bars, they escape the terrifying reality of jail into fantasies featuring a famous 1940?s movie star. This is the Kiss of the Spider Woman. The musical features a score by John Kander and Fred Ebb and a book by Terrence McNally (this year?s Tony winning Lifetime Achievement recipient). It?s based on a 1976 Argentine novel by Manuel Puig.
From the 1993 telecast, the legendary Chita Rivera as ?Aurora? (a.k.a. The Spider Woman), Brent Carver as ?Molina?, Anthony Crivello as ?Valentin?, and the cast perform the toe tapping number WHERE YOU ARE.
KISS OF THE SPIDER WOMAN was first conceived as a musical in the late 80?s. After early readings, the show went through numerous stages of workshop labs by New Musicals (a non-for-porfit organization creating, developing, and providing a home for 16 new musicals over 4 years) in 1990. Under the direction of the legendary Harold Prince, the 1990 workshop failed to please critics. From there, the idea of the show went back onto the shelf. However, 2 years later, Garth Drabinsky came on board and gave the show a second chance with and his company, Livent.
The show had its World Premiere tryout in Toronto, Canada at the Bluma Appel Theatre (part of St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts) in 1992. A few months later, the show went on to London?s West End playing the Shaftesbury Theatre for an entire year. It became a huge hit. For its London engagement, the show went on to receive 5 Olivier Awards nominations in 1993 winning only 1 for Best Lighting Design (for Howell Binkley).
Following the success of both the Toronto and London engagements, KISS OF THE SPIDER WOMAN officially arrived on Broadway in 1993 playing the Broadhurst Theatre for a complete total of 920 performances. With the original creative team led by Hal Prince and choreography by Rob Marshall and Vincent Patterson,, the cast (who took part with the show?s engagements in Toronto and London) featured….
and Anthony Crivello (later Brian Stokes Mitchell) as ?Valentin?.
FUN FACT: The show marked the official triumphant Broadway comeback for Chita Rivera. 7 years prior, Rivera was in a terrifying car accident which she sustained severe injuries included the breaking of her left leg in twelve places, requiring eighteen screws and two braces to mend. People believed that Rivera would never dance again on stage but with a miracle and strong determination, she recovered.
The Broadway production was nominated for 11 Tony Awards that year. It took home 7 for Best Musical, Best Score (for Kander & Ebb), Best Book (for Terrence McNally), Best Leading Actress in a Musical (for Chita Rivera), Best Leading Actor in a Musical (for Brent Carver), and Best Featured Actor in a Musical (for Anthony Crivello), and Best Costume Design (for Florence Klotz).
Following the success of its Broadway run, KISS OF THE SPIDER WOMAN went on to wow audiences across North America, in South America, and Australia.
How sexy is this musical?