Kiss of the Spider Woman | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Kiss of the Spider Woman

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A gay inmate and a political prisoner share their sustaining fantasies in this richly persuasive musical by John Kander, Fred Ebb, and Terrence McNally (inspired by Manuel Puig's novel). Susan Finque's revival keeps it real, which wasn't always the case with the overwhelming Broadway production. Even the morphine-fueled production numbers, headlined by Katherine Lynne Condit's riveting performance in "Spider Woman," are clearly the escapist dreams of these battered convicts. Brenda Didier's Fosse-fueled choreography never gets too Vegas slick, and Stan Q. Wash's unflinchingly radical Valentin and Ryan Lanning's seemingly delicate, ultimately heroic Molina are good for each other and for the very dramatic score. Like the spider woman's kiss, the heartbreaking ending is equally balm and curse--a devastating finale. Through 2/18: Thu-Sat 7:30 PM, Sun 3:30 PM, Bailiwick Repertory, Bailiwick Arts Center, 1229 W. Belmont, 773-883-1090, $25-$30.

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