Show artwork for Kiss of the Spider Woman
Media Release

Kiss of the Spider Woman

Kander & Ebb’s (Chicago, Cabaret) Tony Award-winning musical, Kiss of the Spider Woman, is now in rehearsals at Melbourne Theatre Company ahead of its opening on Friday 22 November at Southbank Theatre.

The legendary Caroline O’Connor (Bombshells), Ainsley Melham (Aladdin on Broadway), and Adam-Jon Fiorentino (Mary Poppins on Broadway) lead an all-star cast including Jakob Ambrose (Priscilla Queen of the Desert), Blake Appelqvist (Spamalot), Elandrah Eramiha (Memphis), Natalie Gamsu (Ladies in Black), Joe Gaudion (Madiba), Ryan Gonzalez (Jersey Boys), Bert LaBonté (Book of Mormon), and Lyndon Watts (West Side Story).

Directed by Dean Bryant, this MTC production is Australia’s first major musical staging of Kiss of the Spider Woman, a redemptive story of love, fantasy and the kind of friendship that develops when humanity is pushed to its limits.

Dean Bryant said ‘For years I've been dreaming of building this thrilling musical with the incandescent Caroline O'Connor as Aurora, the ultimate cinematic vision of song-and-dance glamour. It's remarkable to team her with Adam-Jon Fiorentino and Ainsley Melham, giving MTC the coup of three stars who've all led Broadway musicals. This musical has the electricity of Kander and Ebb’s biggest hits, Cabaret and Chicago, while being a heart-wrenching tale of human survival.’

Based on the 1976 novel by Manuel Puig, Kiss of the Spider Woman has been adapted into a play, an Academy Award-winning film and Tony Award-winning Broadway musical. The musical was one of 20 that legendary songwriting duo John Kander and Fred Ebb wrote together, as well as the titular and iconic theme song for Martin Scorcese’s film New York, New York, starring Liza Minnelli and Robert De Niro. 

In a dark South American prison, two very different men share a small cell. Valentin is a Marxist revolutionary who refuses to betray his comrades. Molina is a window dresser who distracts himself by escaping to a fantasy world of movies starring the glamorous diva, Aurora. Valentin can't stand Molina’s cinematic fantasies but eventually, as they share their visions for a better life, they develop a deep bond.

Dean Bryant is one of Australia’s most accomplished and versatile directors. He has directed numerous productions for MTC including The Lady in the Van, An Ideal Husband, Wild, Vivid White, Born Yesterday, Skylight, I’ll Eat You Last and Next to Normal. Dean also worked on Macbeth, The Drowsy Chaperone, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (and STC season), Hitchcock Blonde and Urinetown (and STC season) for MTC. His other directing credits include Assassins, Sweet Charity (Helpmann Award, Best Director of a Musical) and Little Shop of Horrors (Sydney Theatre Award, Best Director of a Musical) for Hayes Theatre Company, for Opera Australia Two Weddings, One Bride and Anything Goes (also GFO), Once We Lived Here (London), DreamSong (Theatre Works), Straight (Red Stitch), The Last Five Years, Prodigal, Virgins: A Musical Threesome and five musicals for The Production Company. With composer Mathew Frank, he wrote Green Room award-winning musicals Prodigal and Once We Lived Here. Dean created verbatim piece Gaybies (Midsumma, Darlinghurst Theatre Company). Dean is Worldwide Associate Director of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert – The Musical

Winner of 7 Tony Awards including Best Musical.

‘One of Broadway's most thrilling musicals.’ The New York Times

Cast Caroline O’Connor, Jakob Ambrose, Blake Appelqvist, Elandrah Eramiha, Adam-Jon Fiorentino, Natalie Gamsu, Joe Gaudion, Ryan Gonzalez,  Bert LaBonté, Ainsley Melham, Lyndon Watts

Director Dean Bryant
Musical Director & Orchestrator Jack Earle
Choreographer Andrew Hallsworth  
Set & Costume Designer Alicia Clements
Lighting Designer Matt Scott
Sound Designer Nick Walker
Projection Designer Jamie Clennett
Voice & Dialect Coach Leith McPherson
Assistant Director & Assistant Choreographer Luca Dinardo
Musicians Darryn Farrugia, Susannah Ng, Patrick Schmidli, Paul Zabrowarny

Season Dates
18 November – 28 December

Opening Night
Friday 22 November 

Southbank Theatre, The Sumner

03 8688 0800


Published on 24 October 2019