The Lyric Stage Company of Boston and City Stage Co. have announced a new collaboration, along with their plan to merge this season. This union will bring together two companies with decades of experience in theatre and theatre-based education. Working together, more youth and families in the City of Boston will have access to their programs.
101 – Kiss of the Spider Woman with Rachel Bertone Lyric Off Stage
00:00 / 13:53
Join Kiss of the Spider Woman director and choreographer Rachel Bertone as she brings us behind the scenes into her planning, preparation, and vision for this production of Kander and Ebb’s smash musical in our very first episode of our new podcast, Lyric Off Stage!
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About Kiss of the Spider Woman
Fantasy and reality become tangled in a dark web in this smash musical by John Kander and Fred Ebb, 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.
Update! Thank you so mucht to everyone who entered– we have a winner!
Congratulations to Vicki Kaplan who won our Kander & Ebb contest and lunch with Spiro! We loved your enthusiasm for Cell Block Tango and all of Kander and Ebb and can’t wait to share Kiss of the Spider Woman with you!
Kiss of the Spider Woman director Rachel Bertone has a history of taking incredible musicals and turning them into unmissable experiences. Here are just a few of our favorites!
Kimberly Fife, Katrina Pavao, Phil Tayler, Joy Clark and Caroline Workman in Cabaret. Photo by Sharman Altshuler.
From DigBoston’s Review of Moonbox’s production of Cabaret:
Taking on iconic material is always a risky thing, particularly something as well known and oft revived as Cabaret. But if there’s anything the 1966 masterwork has demonstrated over the years, it’s that it is not a musical resistant to reinvention. (Bob Fosse proved this with his 1972 film adaptation, as did Sam Mendes and Rob Marshall with their landmark 1998 revival). And while Moonbox Productions’ brand-new revival of Cabaret, running through April 28 at the Calderwood Pavilion, isn’t conceptually much different (they are using the 1998 version of the script, after all), it is full of such startlingly original moments that the whole experience feels brand new.
It is without an ounce of hyperbole that I say that this searing revival of Cabaret, directed and choreographed by the extraordinary Rachel Bertone, is the best theatrical production so far this year. What’s more, it’s the best Boston-born revival of a musical in recent memory.
There is hardly a scrap of this production that feels routine, which is part of the reason that it feels so fresh. Despite polite nods to the choreography of Fosse and Marshall (Those elbows! Those ankles!), the staging is new and inventive without being derivative.
With its teeming canvas, incisive character portraits, and a gem-studded score that blends hip-hop and salsa with Broadway balladry, “In the Heights’’ showcased elements of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s signature style years before he built the blockbuster “Hamilton’’ on the foundation of similar creative components.
But even though “In the Heights’’ is probably destined to be remembered as Miranda’s other musical, a full-throttle production at Wheelock Family Theatre, superbly directed and choreographed by Rachel Bertone, offers a dazzling reminder that this was no mere warm-up exercise for Miranda.
We sat down with Kiss of the Spider Woman Director Rachel Bertone for the first installment of our new series: Why3, a directorial take on why this production is important, why it should be performed at the Lyric Stage, and why we should see it now.
Why this play?
We need to see more representation of queer people of color on our stages.
We need to give a voice to minority groups who are oppressed and seemingly powerless.
To show us that toxic masculinity is a learned behavior and that love and knowledge can overpower it.
To remind us that love is what we are born with, fear is what we learn, and love is the ultimate cure for fear.
Why the Lyric Stage?
Because Lyric’s mission of diversity and inclusion allows us to cast the show accurately and tell the story truthfully.
Because Lyric’s intimate space forces us to closely examine and reflect upon the challenging themes and subject matter of the play. (i.e. homophobia, toxic masculinity and discrimination)
We need this play right now because we must be able to turn to our fellow neighbor and love them despite our differences in race, gender, politics, and beliefs. We need to show compassion and empathy for everyone around us for we never truly know someone’s whole story. We must not be bystanders anymore—we must be UPstanders.
The Lyric Stage Company of Boston’s Producing Artistic Director, Spiro Veloudos, Managing Director, Matt Chapuran, and its Board of Directors today announced that they have named Courtney O’Connor as the company’s new Associate Artistic Director. She assumed her full-time duties at the Lyric Stage on July 9, 2018
Spiro Veloudos commented on Courtney’s appointment: “Courtney and I have been friends for some time (it’s been so long, I don’t event want to say). She has directed a number of plays at the Lyric Stage and throughout Boston, and was my associate director for our production of Nicholas Nickleby, parts 1 & 2. With 75 applications for this position, the choice was anything but easy. But Courtney’s background in theatre production, administration, and education made her the logical choice.”
Matt Chapuran added: “I fondly recall Courtney’s production of Sin at the Coyote Theatre, produced back when we were all much younger. She’s lost none of her vibrancy and wit, and shares our commitment to local talent.”
And Courtney O’Connor wrote: “The Lyric Stage has been an artistic home to me as a director here in Boston — a place that has challenged and supported me like no other. And as I have grown during that time, the Lyric Stage has also grown and expanded greatly. With their new programs and partnerships, the continuing deep commitment to supporting local artists, and the dedicated and vibrant staff, the Lyric Stage is an invigorating and thriving company. I am thrilled to be joining in this new role, and look forward to discovering what we can create as we grow together.”
Winner of 7 Tony Awards, including Best Musical & Best Score
Book by William F. Brown Music and Lyrics by Charlie Smalls From the story “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” by L. Frank Baum
Directed by Dawn M. Simmons Music Director, Allyssa Jones Choreography by Jean Appolon
May 18 – June 24, 2018
“Radiates so much energy you can hardly sit in your seat!” — NY Post
A soulful retelling of L. Frank Baum’s beloved The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, The Wiz combines fairy-tale glamour with street smarts to make a classic fantasy sparkle for today. And our directors and choreographer will bring a blast of New Orleans Creole magic to this production! Winner of seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical and Best Score, The Wiz ingeniously mixes rock, gospel, soul, and jazz, and features hits like “Ease on Down the Road,” “A Brand New Day,” and “Home.”