Tuesday, October 15, 2013

MT Soundtracker: Day 15

Kiss of the Spider Woman (1992)

Original Cast Recording

Music: John Kander
Lyrics: Fred Ebb

Synopsis: Luis Alberto Molina is a gay prisoner in Latin America who mostly lives in a dream world to get away from the life in prison. He is particularly drawn to the voice of seductive actress, Aurora, the 'Spider Woman'. Molina cares for his repeatedly tortured cell mate, Valentin, and Molina has to decide whether he is prepared to betray Valentin for the sake of seeing his sick mother. 

John Kander and Fred Ebb are best known for creating the scores for Cabaret and Chicago. Kiss of the Spider Woman is obviously a later piece of work and although I can see the resemblance in the music between this show and others composed by the duo that I know, it is a more modern sound. Not the pop sound which has become popular in this day and time mind you, but rather a modern musical theatre sound. In fact, the music reminds me of the work of Frank Wildhorn (e.g. Jekyll and Hyde, The Scarlet Pimpernel)I am personally very fond of his style and already the first few ominous phrases of the Prologue of The Kiss of the Spider Woman drew me in and made me want to listen to the rest of the recording. As a result of the show's setting, the rhythmic Latin American drive is the basis of several tracks. There are some great solos for males and for a low female voice in the show, e.g. Marta, She's a Woman, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Do Miracles (a duet but would work as a solo). Morphine Tango wins the prize for the eeriest track with its choral base.

The musical got criticised for failing to do justice to the novel it is based on and for presenting the serious subject matters the musical deals with too lightly. However, although its West End run was not the longest, the Broadway production (1993, with Chita Rivera in the title role) was very successful and won several Tony Awards. 

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