The Whatsonstage.com team was racing around the West End last night (25 April 2007) to get to two important events: the opening night of the Donmar Warehouse revival of Manuel Puig’s play Kiss of the Spider Woman and a gala performance celebrating the arrival of three new leads in Kander and Ebb musical classic Cabaret (See Also Today’s WOS TV).

First up at the Donmar (See News, 9 Mar 2007), Kiss of the Spider Woman finds Rupert Evans and Will Keen (who replaced Iain Glen during the second week of rehearsals) playing men forming an unlikely friendship while forced to share a prison cell in 1970s Argentina. Valentin (Evans) is a young Marxist rebel punished for his ideals, Molina (Keen) a middle-aged man condemned for his sexuality.

The play, which Puig adapted from his own 1976 novel, is translated by Allan Baker. The new Donmar production is directed by Charlotte Westenra and designed by Ben Stones It continues its limited season until 26 May 2007. For 1st Night Photos, our Whatsonstage.com photographer Dan Wooller was on hand at the Donmar Warehouse, for the post-show party in the theatre bar where – along with cast and creatives - other first night guests included actors Samuel West, Douglas Hodge, Charles Dance, Helen McCrory, Louisa Clein, Sinead Matthews and Donmar artistic director Michael Grandage.

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At the Lyric Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, Cabaret now has three new leads in the form of Kim Medcalf (who’s taken over from Anna Maxwell-Martin as Sally Bowles), Honor Blackman (succeeding Olivier Award winner Sheila Hancock as landlady Fraulein Schneider) and Francis Matthews (replacing Geoffrey Hutchings as her love interest Herr Schultz). Also still in the cast are James Dreyfus (the Emcee), Michael Hayden, Harriet Thorpe and Andrew Maud.

Rufus Norris’ revival turns Weimar Berlin into a dark and sexually charged haven of decadence, its morally ambiguous inhabitants determined to keep up appearances as the real world - outside the sanctuary of the cabaret - prepares for the chaos of war. Based on the stories of Christopher Isherwood and the play by John Van Druten, Cabaret has a book by Joe Masteroff, music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb. The musical premiered on Broadway on 1966 and in 1972 was made into an Oscar-winning film starring Liza Minnelli as Sally Bowles, Michael York as Cliff and Joel Grey as the Emcee.

For our Photos coverage, Whatsonstage.com photographer Dan Wooller attended the curtain call and post-show party at the Lyric. In addition to cast and creatives, guests included Samantha Bond and EastEnders stars Steve McFadden and Charlie Brooks. Cabaret opened on 10 October 2006 (previews from 23 September) and is currently booking up to 1 March 2008.

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