McDonald told Time Out New York that she will star in a concert version of Stephen Sondheim's Passion in March 2005 as part of Lincoln Center's acclaimed American Songbook series. McDonald previously played the role of Clara in a weekend of concerts at the annual Ravinia Festival in Aug. 2003.
McDonald's co-stars at the Chicago festival included Patti LuPone as the ill-fated Fosca and Michael Cerveris as Giorgio; LuPone and Cerveris are likely to repeat their roles as well. A spokesperson for Lincoln Center could not confirm the production nor the casting as of press time.
McDonald also told Time Out that she will make her operatic debut next year in Houston, performing a one-woman Poulenc work. Said the three-time Tony winner, "I don't know if I can do it, and that's the God's honest truth. There'll be nights before a concert where I think, 'Can I do this?' I know my next step is three steps from the stage. So I think, 'Okay, I'll make that step.'"
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.
A three-time Tony Award winner for her work in Master Class, Carousel and Ragtime, Audra McDonald was seen earlier this season in Henry IV. 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-starred in the NBC series "Mister Sterling.”