Passion-ate Casting: Audra McDonald to Join LuPone for Summer Sondheim

News   Passion-ate Casting: Audra McDonald to Join LuPone for Summer Sondheim Three-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald will join the previously announced Patti LuPone for a concert version of Stephen Sondheim’s Passion this summer at Chicago’s annual Ravinia Festival.

The Chicago Tribune reports that McDonald will play Clara in the Sondheim James Lapine musical, which was recently mounted by the Kennedy Center during its much-in-the-news Sondheim Celebration. Tony and Olivier Award winner LuPone will portray the ill-fated Fosca in the musical, which will play the festival Aug. 22 and 23. Urban Cowboy's Lonny Price, who directed both LuPone and McDonald in the Lincoln Center Sweeney Todd concert, will direct here as well. Based on Ettore Scola's Italian film "Passion d'Amore," Passion opened on Broadway on May 9, 1994, with a cast that featured Jere Shea (Giorgio), Marin Mazzie (Clara) and Donna Murphy (Fosca). The tale of obsessive love includes such Sondheim tunes as "Happiness," "I Read," "I Wish I Could Forget You," "Loving You" and "No One Has Ever Loved Me." The original Broadway production received the 1994 Tony Award for Best Musical; Donna Murphy also garnered her first Tony for Best Actress in a Musical, and Sondheim and Lapine were awarded prizes for, respectively, Best Original Score and Best Book of a Musical. Judy Kuhn, Rebecca Luker and Michael Cerveris starred in the aforementioned Kennedy Center production.

A three-time Tony Award winner for her work in Master Class, Carousel and Ragtime, Audra McDonald was most recently on Broadway in the title role of Marie Christine. The singer-actress recently made her solo Carnegie Hall concert debut in an evening of songs scored for big bands, performing several tunes from her Nonesuch CD "Happy Songs." McDonald's other solo recordings, "Way Back to Paradise" and "How Glory Goes," are also on the Nonesuch label. She also co-stars in the new NBC series, "Mister Sterling.”

The Ravinia theatre is located in Highland Park, IL; for more information, go to www.ravinia.org.