Stephen Sondheim to Join Pre-Concert Discussion at Ravinia's Passion

News   Stephen Sondheim to Join Pre-Concert Discussion at Ravinia's Passion Award-winning composer Stephen Sondheim will join Ravinia Festival president and CEO Welz Kauffman for a pre-concert discussion prior to the Aug. 22 concert staging of Sondheim's Passion.

The discussion will begin at 7 PM in the Ravinia's Martin Theatre; those theatregoers with either Pavilion or Lawn tickets to the 8 PM concert that evening will be admitted free of charge on a first-come, first-served basis. Tickets for the discussion will be distributed as soon as the park opens at 5 PM; the chat will also be broadcast to the lawn.

Starring Patti LuPone as Fosca, Audra McDonald as Clara and Michael Cerveris as Giorgio, Passion — Aug. 22 and 23 — is the third installment in the Ravinia's "Sondheim 75" celebration. The series will mount one of the composer's musicals each summer through his 75th birthday in 2005. Last summer, the Festival presented A Little Night Music, which also starred Tony winner LuPone.

In a statement, CEO Kauffman said, "Passion has been described as a luminous rhapsody on the theme of love, and it makes a perfect addition to this series because it exemplifies what is best about Sondheim's compositions while at the same time feeling distinctively different from everything else he has accomplished. We're thrilled that he will join us for this special evening."

Passion also features 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 includes Cory Goodrich and Jacob Langfelder and two other actors to be announced shortly.

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

Tickets for the 8 PM concerts Aug. 22 and 23 are available by calling (847) 266-5100. The Ravinia theatre is located in Highland Park, IL; for more information, go to www.ravinia.org.