Friday, May 27, 2016

reviews - KISS OF THE SPIDER WOMAN - Scottsdale Musical Theater Company

Robert Allocca, Michael Schauble, Addam Donada, and Matt Newhard
photo by Jessica Cole
highlights from local critics reviews - (click link at bottom of each review to read complete review)

Click here for more information on this production that runs through May 29th.

 "It's hard to believe that a musical that won seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical..is rarely produced in the Phoenix area. It's fortunate then that Scottsdale Musical Theater Company is mounting a week long run of Kiss of the Spider Woman. ..while it has a couple of downsides, features clear and concise direction and is led by stellar performances by Michael Schauble and Matthew Newhard. Those performances alone make this a must see production....the musical focuses on two men who share a cell in a Latin American prison....the two couldn't be more unalike, but together they find a common bond against their oppressors and realize that they are more alike than they originally thought...As Molina, Michael Schauble is superb..It's a rich performance full of nuance, multiple layers, and refined gestures, without Schauble turning it into caricature. Mathew Newhard is just as good as Valentin, a man who is fighting for much more than just the revolution he constantly speaks of. The two are exceptional in their roles and do wonderful work in the many scenes they have together. They also both deliver power house vocal performances ...Lindsay Kalby is fine as Aurora. She evokes some of the exotic allure that the part requires but her singing isn't quite up to the level of Schauble and Newhard...Hector Coris' skillful direction swiftly moves between scenes of torture and moments of terrific fantasy with his and David Hock's musical staging quite effective..Coris has done very good character work with all of his actors to ensure that they make the most of their parts, with special focus on the excellent performances of the leads.Curtis Moeller's music supervision achieves some lush sounds..Tylar Talkington's scenic design works very well..Her lighting design is very good, with the suggestion of shadows and prison bars and a fantastic spider web effect....Kiss of the Spider Woman is a very effective musical ..when done right it is a show that can grab an audience and even move them to tears. Scottsdale Musical Theater Company's production is quite good and features exceptional work from the two male leads who deliver rich, moving portrayals."  -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

"Wow. Scottsdale Musical Theater Company (SMTC) has assembled the two strongest concurrent male performances on a community Valley stage this season. Their limited run of the rarely-produced Kander and Ebb multiple Tony winner "Kiss of the Spider Woman" opened last night at Tempe Arts Center. The guys, Michael Schauble as Molina and Matt Newhard as Valentin were quite simply superb....Schauble has so powerfully inhabited and owned Molina's character that the most profound of his accomplishments elude description...his many musical numbers were, his delivery was as finessed and finely spun and true to Molina as his acting....Layers of his character were peeled away to reveal complexity and contradiction that Newhard delivered with raw courage and vulnerability untold. ...His spine-tingling baritone voice and crystalline head voice were equally committed to the role....The lady around whom this web revolves is, of course, the Spider Woman. Filling the shoes of Broadway standouts like Chita Rivera and Vanessa Williams made the demanding role an uphill climb for Lindsay Kalby who played Aurora last night....Director (Hector) Coris utilized the pull and tension within the story and score to remarkable effect. From pacing, to quartet blocking that emphasized character relationships, to technical oversight of a red-splashed stage with a superimposed web, to coaching the disconnected cruelty in the warden and guards, to some fun melodramatic moments, and so much more, Coris lured the audience's attention to the critical and nuanced details the show demands....This production is a rare opportunity not to be missed. With just a few production dates remaining, Scottsdale Musical Theater Company offers a mesmerizing tale of how both freedom and fatality can be locked within a "Kiss of the Spider Woman." -Jennifer Haaland, Examiner.com (click here to read the complete review)

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