Rebecca Luker Will Record Clara on PS Classics Passion Cast Album With Judy Kuhn and Ryan Silverman

By Adam Hetrick
07 May 2013

Cover art
Cover art

Tony Award nominee Rebecca Luker will record the role of Clara for an ailing Melissa Errico on the PS Classics two-disc Off-Broadway cast album of the Stephen Sondheim-James Lapine musical Passion, Playbill.com has exclusively learned.

Luker, a three-time Tony Award nominee for Mary Poppins, The Music Man and Show Boat, appeared in the Kennedy Center's 2002 revival of Passion, which also featured Tony Award nominee Judy Kuhn (Chess, Les Misérables) as Fosca. Kuhn, who re-explored the role in the acclaimed Classic Stage Company revival of Passion this spring, will be reunited with Luker on disc. The leading trio also features Ryan Silverman (The Phantom of the Opera) as Giorgio.

Tony Award nominee Errico (High Society), who originated the role of Clara in the recent CSC revival, came down with bronchitis during the Off-Broadway run. Understudy Amy Justman assumed the role of Clara in her absence.

As first reported by Playbill.com, the original cast album recording date of April 8 was postponed when complications from bronchitis prevented Errico from attending the sessions. The recording sessions were pushed back to May 13 with several cast members from the now-closed production scheduled to fly in from the West Coast.



In recent days Errico informed producers that due to a prolonged recovery period, which included vocal rest on doctor's orders, she would not be able to attend the recording sessions for Passion.

"Obviously, we were devastated to get the news from Melissa that, after being cleared to sing, she was being put on vocal rest again," Krasker told Playbill.com. "We were especially devastated for her; it's an awful thing for an actor to have happen. At this point there was no way we could postpone a second time. The show has closed, cast and orchestra have dispersed – people are flying in Monday from all across the country to record the album. There was no way to lock in another date. We thought we'd have to cancel the recording, but then we thought of Rebecca, who was so brilliant playing Clara in D.C., and bless her, she was not only willing to step in, but to rehearse with Judy and Ryan, and really preserve Doyle's approach to the show, which is key. We're all hoping Melissa gets better soon, and our thoughts are with her, but we're thrilled that we were able to find a solution that keeps the recording alive."

Rebecca Luker

PS Classics and Luker have collaborated on several albums, including "I Got Love (Songs of Jerome Kern)," "Leaving Home" and "Greenwich Time," as well as cast recordings of Death Takes a Holiday, Sweet Little Devil, Strike Up the Band 1930, Jerome Kern: The Land Where the Good Songs Go and Kitty's Kisses.

The two-disc album of Passion will be released July 2 as scheduled. The album will be the most expansive treatment of the Tony Award-winning 1994 musical to date. PS Classics co-founder Tommy Krasker told Playbill.com that the planned recording will include 40-41 tracks on two discs.

PS Classics will begin shipping the cast album June 18. The album is currently available for pre-order at PSClassics.com. The original Broadway cast recording is currently out of print in CD package format, though it's available digitally.

PS Classics co-founder Krasker has produced many Sondheim albums over the years, including Grammy-nominated cast recordings of Assassins, Sweeney Todd, Company, A Little Night Music, Sondheim on Sondheim and Follies. Passion was initially scheduled for an early June release.

The Tony Award-winning 1994 musical, which features a libretto by James Lapine, was intimately staged by Tony Award winner John Doyle (Sweeney Todd, Company, Road Show). Passion began previews Feb. 8 and officially opened Feb. 28. Critics embraced Doyle's production, which extended its run through April 19.

The cast also includes John Antony, Tony nominee Stephen Bogardus (Colonel Ricci), Jeffry Denman (Lieutenant Barri), Jason Michael Evans (Private Augenti), Amy Justman (understudy), Ken Krugman (Lieutenant Torasso), Orville Mendoza (Sergeant Lombardi), Tom Nelis (Doctor Tambourri) and Will Reynolds (Major Rizzoli/Ludovic).

Passion has musical direction by Rob Berman and orchestrations by Jonathan Tunick. It has has costumes by Ann Hould-Ward, lighting by Jane Cox and sound by Dan Moses Schreier. Makeup design is by Angelina Avallone. Hair consultants are J. Jared Janas & Rob Greene. Production stage manager is Adam John Hunter. Assistant stage manager is Claudia Lynch.

PS Classics discs and many other theatre recordings are also available at PlaybillStore.com.

View highlghts from Passion on Playbill Video: