Sondheim's Passion Begins Performances Sept. 10 at London's Donmar Warehouse
By Mark Shenton
The Donmar Warehouse's new production of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's Passion begins performances Sept. 10, prior to an official opening Sept. 21, for a run through Nov. 21, during which time it will be the centrepiece of the Donmar'sSondheim at 80 festival that marks both the composer's 80th birthday and the long association he has had with the Donmar since 1992.
In a press statement, Sondheim commented, "My association with the Donmar Warehouse has been a joy from its inception in 1992 with Assassins through its productions of Company, Merrily We Roll Along, Into the Woods and Pacific Overtures. Our collaborations over the years have been professionally fulfilling and personally gratifying and now I'm honored and thrilled that they are presenting Passion to help celebrate my 80th birthday. There is no venue, or team of artists, that I would rather have produce the piece." The Donmar's artistic director Michael Grandage added, "This celebration of the work of Stephen Sondheim offers London a unique opportunity to honour one of the world's greatest living composers of musicals in his 80th year. I am delighted we are able to focus on his very special relationship with the Donmar through a series of events, concerts and performances involving so many talented artists."
The full company for Passion comprises Simon Bailey, David Birrell, Allan Corduner, Ross Dawes, Iwan Lewis, Tim Morgan, Haydn Oakley, Elena Roger (Fosca), Scarlett Strallen (Clara) and David Thaxton (Georgio). It is directed by Donmar associate director Jamie Lloyd, with designs by Christopher Oram, lighting by Neil Austin, musical direction by Alan Williams, choreography by Scott Ambler and sound design by Nick Lidster and Terry Jardine for Autograph.
In addition to Passion, the Donmar will also present concert performances of Merrily We Roll Along and Company, to be staged at the Queen's Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue for two performances each on consecutive Sundays, Oct. 31 and Nov. 7, respectively. They will be be staged by Donmar associate directors Rob Ashford and Jamie Lloyd, respectively, and will be performed by companies that include members of the original Donmar productions. For Merrily We Roll Along, these include Daniel Evans (Charley Kringas), Anna Francolini (Gussie), Julian Ovenden (Younger Frank Shepherd) and Samantha Spiro (Mary Flynn); and for Company, Anna Francolini (Marta), Adrian Lester (Robert), Clive Rowe (Harry), Michael Simkins (Paul) and Sophie Thompson (Amy). Other cast members will include Lucy Bradshaw, David Lucas, James Millard, Grant Russell, Mary Stockley, Emma Jay Thomas and Shona White for Merrily; and Paul Bentley, Clare Burt, Rebecca Front, Teddy Kempner and Gareth Snook for Company.
There will also be two "In Conversation" events, with artistic director Michael Grandage and his predecessor Sam Mendes discussing the company's relationship with the composer on Sept. 16, and Sondheim himself in conversation about his life and work with UK theatre journalist David Benedict on Oct. 11.
To book tickets, contact the box office on 0844 871 7624, or visit www.donmarwarehouse.com.
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