Lyric Stage Company of Boston opens its fall season with a splashy production of "Kiss of the Spider Woman," on stage Aug. 31-Oct. 7.

Fantasy and reality become tangled in this dark web of a musical by John Kander and Fred Ebb, the songwriting team that penned two other huge hits, "Chicago" and "Cabaret."

Terrence McNally wrote the musical's book, basing it on the novel by Manuel Puig. The show 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 frightening 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.

The show won seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical and Best Score. Rachel Bertone directs and choreographs the Lyric production. Dan Rodriguez is music director.

The cast includes Bernie Baldassaro, Johanna Carlisle-Zepeda, Eddy Cavazos, Arthur Cuadros, Taavon Gamble, Arthur Gomez, Ricardo Holguin, Diego Klock-Pérez, Davron S. Monroe, Luis Negron, Felton Sparks, Lance-Patrick Strickland, Lisa Yuen and Katrina Zofia.

Tickets start at $25 and are available at 617-585-5678 or online at www.lyricstage.com.

Nancye Tuttle's email address is nancyedt@verizon.net.

On the marquee


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WORLD PREMIERE: Huntington Theatre Company launches its new season with the world premiere of Eleanor Burgess' explosive new play, "The Niceties," running Aug. 31-Oct. 6 at the South End/Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts. The play will move off-Broadway to the Manhattan Theatre Club after the Boston run and continue on to Princeton, N.J., for performances at the McCarter Theatre Center. The two-hander play is about black student Zoe and white professor Janine, both brilliant and liberal, and what happens when they meet to discuss Zoe's term paper about the impact of slavery on the American Revolution. Brookline-born, Yale-educated Burgess, a Huntington Playwriting Fellow, used a 2015 incident at her alma mater as inspiration for the play. Her play "Chill" was produced at Merrimack Repertory Theatre in the 2016-17 season. Tickets start at $25 and are available at www.huntingtontheatre.org or call 617-266-0800.

ON TAP AT LMA: Tickets are on sale for the Dark Star Orchestra's appearance at Lowell Memorial Auditorium on Friday, Nov. 9, at 7:30 p.m. Performing to critical acclaim for 20 years and more than 2,600 shows, the group emulates the Grateful Dead concert experience. Tickets are $29-$59 and available at www.lowellauditorium.com or call 978-937-8688.

IT'S A WRAP: Seacoast Repertory Theatre in Portsmouth, N.H., brings down the curtain this weekend on its critically acclaimed -- and quite zany -- production of "Xanadu." The Tony-nominated, roller-skating musical adventure is about following your dreams despite the limitations others set for you. Performances are Aug. 23-26, including a matinee at 2 p.m., on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 25-26. Visit www.seacoastrep.org for details.

BERNSTEIN CELEBRATION: The Boston Symphony Orchestra wraps up its seasonlong celebration of the late Leonard Bernstein's Centennial with a gala concert on Saturday, Aug. 25 -- his actual 100th birthday -- at 8 p.m., at Tanglewood in the Berkshires. A huge array of artists will perform and be conducted by Andris Nelsons, Keith Lockhart, John Williams, Michael Tilson Thomas and Christoph Eschenbach. Visit www.bso.org for details.