So Much Happiness: LuPone, McDonald and Cerveris Star in Passion

News   So Much Happiness: LuPone, McDonald and Cerveris Star in Passion
 
The all-star concert version of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's Passion will be presented at Chicago's Ravinia Festival Aug. 22 and 23.

Tony Award winners Patti LuPone and Audra McDonald star as, respectively, Fosca and Clara opposite the Giorgio of The Who's Tommy's Michael Cerveris. The cast also includes David Girolmo as Colonel Ricci, David Darlow as Doctor Tambourri, James Rank as Lieutenant Torasso, Paul Alessandro as Sargeant Lombardi, Roger Anderson as Lieutenant Barri, Brian Herriott as Major Rizzolli, Stephen Wallem as Private Augenti, Marilynn Bogetich as Fosca's Mother, Ray Frewen as Fosca's Father, John Clonts as Ludovic and Kymberly Mellen as the Mistress. The ensemble features Cory Goodrich and Jacob Langfelde.

Urban Cowboy's Lonny Price, who directed both LuPone and McDonald in the Lincoln Center Sweeney Todd concert, directs here as well. Sondheim veteran Paul Gemignani conducts the orchestra.

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 Tony Award winner for her work in Evita, Patti LuPone also earned an Olivier Award for her performances in the West End productions of Lés Misérables and The Cradle Will Rock. Her other theatrical credits include Sunset Boulevard, Anything Goes, Oliver!, Working, The Old Neighborhood, Master Class and the City Center Encores! production of Pal Joey. LuPone also headlined two solo concerts, Patti LuPone On Broadway and Matters of the Heart, and received glowing notices for her performance as Mrs. Lovett in the Lincoln Center concert version of Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd. Also a star of television and film, her screen credits boast "Life Goes On," "Frasier," "Driving Miss Daisy," "Witness," "The Water Engine," "State and Main" and "Monday Night Mayhem."

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-starred in the NBC series "Mister Sterling.” Michael Cerveris received a Tony Award nomination for his performance in the title role of The Who's Tommy, a part he also played for two years in Germany. Cerveris originated the role of architect Thomas Andrews in the Tony-winning musical Titanic and also appeared onstage in Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Total Eclipse, Abingdon Square and Life Is a Dream. His film and television credits include the recent Fox series "Dream On," "21 Jump Street," "The Mexican," "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," "American Embassy" as well as "Fame," "The Equalizer," "Strangers," "Tokyo Pop," "Lulu On the Bridge," "Steel and Lace" and "Rock and Roll High School Forever." Cerveris has also enjoyed success as a rock guitarist-vocalist in both the U.S. and U.K.

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

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