Judy Kuhn and Melissa Errico Will Star in CSC's Passion; John Doyle Directs

By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
and Kenneth Jones
19 Apr 2012

Judy Kuhn
Judy Kuhn

Classic Stage Company, under the leadership of artistic director Brian Kulick and executive director Greg Reiner, announced April 19 that award-winning actresses Judy Kuhn and Melissa Errico will star as Fosca and Clara, respectively, in the company’s new production of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's Tony Award-winning musical Passion.

Tony Award winner John Doyle — who gave fresh life to Company and Sweeney Todd on Broadway — will direct the musical about romantic obsession.

Performances are scheduled to begin in February 2013.

Kuhn previously played the role of Fosca in the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts' production of the Tony-winning musical.

Additional casting as well as the full creative team will be announced in the coming weeks.
(Read about the original Broadway production of Passion in the Playbill Vault.)

A three-time Tony Award nominee for her work in She Loves Me, Les Miserables and Chess, Judy Kuhn also starred in the concert mounting of Alan Menken and Tim Rice's King David and the Los Angeles premiere of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Sunset Boulevard. Kuhn received an Obie Award for her work in the Off-Broadway Laura Nyro tribute, Eli's Comin', and played Fosca in the Kennedy Center mounting of Stephen Sondheim's Passion. Her solo recording is titled "Serious Playground - The Songs of Laura Nyro" (Ghostlight Records).

Melissa Errico, most recently seen on Broadway in Irving Berlin's White Christmas, began her professional career portraying Cosette in Les Misérables, and she followed with leading Broadway roles in Anna Karenina, My Fair Lady, High Society, Amour (Tony nomination) and Dracula, plus roles in the City Center Encores! productions of Call Me Madam and One Touch of Venus. She appeared in a production of Threepenny Opera at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, and her recent Off-Broadway credits include Candida (Drama Desk nomination for Outstanding Actress in a Play), Finian's Rainbow and Aunt Dan and Lemon. She also starred in the Hollywood Bowl presentations of Camelot and The Sound of Music. Her newest solo recording, "Legrand Affair," produced by Phil Ramone and featuring a 100-piece symphony arranged and conducted by Legrand, is available from Ghostlight Records.

Passion, a 1994 Tony winner for Best Musical, Best Score and Best Book, is drawn from Ettore Scola's Italian film "Passione d'Amore," and concerns an ugly, broken, grasping woman named Fosca who pursues a handsome soldier, Giorgio, who is already in love with beautiful but married Clara. The musical had a relatively short life on Broadway, but has since gained stature as a unique musical rumination on the nature of love.



The production is not expected to employ Doyle's signature directorial approach of actors playing their own instruments; Doyle does not exclusively use that idea for his work.

"It is a great, great honor to have the opportunity to revisit this extraordinary musical by Sondheim and Lapine," CSC artistic director Brian Kulick said in a previous statement. "I am particularly excited to have the inimitable John Doyle stage this masterwork of American musical theatre in our intimate space."

Melissa Errico
photo by Peter James Zielinski

This will be the first full-production revival of Passion in New York since its 1994-95 run on Broadway, although there have been semi-staged concert versions (at Lincoln Center and in an Actors Fund benefit) in New York in recent years. Since 1995, the musical has been performed in theatres around the world, and songs such as "I Read," "Happiness," "I Wish I Could Forget You," "Loving You" and "No One Has Ever Loved Me" have been embraced by fans, critics and concert performers.

Passion — with libretto by Lapine, and music and lyrics by Sondheim — was somewhat revised, to acclaim, for a 2010 production at London's Donmar Warehouse.

Donna Murphy won the Best Actress Tony Award for playing Fosca in the original Broadway production. A cast album preserves the score.

Sondheim wrote the music and lyrics for Saturday Night, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Anyone Can Whistle, Company, Follies, A Little Night Music, The Frogs, Pacific Overtures, Sweeney Todd, Merrily We Roll Along, Sunday in the Park With George, Into the Woods, Assassins, Passion and Road Show.

Lapine, a librettist, playwright and director, has worked with Sondheim on Sunday in the Park With George, Into the Woods and Passion. He also directed the first revival of Merrily We Roll Along at La Jolla Playhouse. He also created and directed Sondheim on Sondheim for the Roundabout. With William Finn he has worked on Falsettos, A New Brain, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and the upcoming Little Miss Sunshine.

Doyle received Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards as Outstanding Director of a Musical for his Broadway debut, Sweeney Todd. His production of Sondheim's Company won the Tony for Best Musical Revival and earned him a Tony Award nomination as Best Director of A Musical. He directed the Broadway musical A Catered Affair. He is currently working on a Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park production of Sondheim and George Furth's Merrily We Roll Along.

Now in its 45th year, Classic Stage Company is the award-winning theatre committed to re-imagining the classical repertory for a contemporary American audience.

For more information on Classic Stage Company visit the theatre's website at www.classicstage.org.