So Much Happiness! Off-Broadway Passion Will Get Two-Disc Recording From PS Classics
By Kenneth Jones
Stephen Sondheim's score to Passion will gets its second American cast recording when PS Classics preserves the work of the current Off-Broadway Classic Stage Company production starring Melissa Errico, Judy Kuhn and Ryan Silverman, CSC announced March 15.
A two-disc set will be produced by PS Classics co-founder Tommy Krasker, who 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. The cast and orchestra will gather in a New York recording studio on April 8. Krasker said the package will be released June 4. The extended run ends April 19 at CSC's home on East 13th Street.
Tony Award winner John Doyle (Sweeney Todd) directs and designs Passion on CSC's three-quarter thrust space, with an all-male cast (except for Errico as Clara and Kuhn as Fosca, of course). The critically acclaimed jewel-box production of the 1994 Tony Award-winning Best Musical has book by James Lapine and music and lyrics by Sondheim.
The album — expected to be the most expansive recording of the score yet — 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.
Krasker told Playbill.com, "Philip [Chaffin, co-founder of PS Classics] and I were vacationing in Florida, and started to get amazing emails to our website about the new production of Passion. We saw the matinee last Sunday, and decided then and there that we had to record it; it was pretty much the reaction we had when we saw Merrily We Roll Along at Encores! last winter. I think with the original cast recording being out of print, and only available digitally, there was a void there to be filled, and this production — and in particular, this cast — is extraordinary. I honestly don't expect in my lifetime I'll see a better Passion."
In addition to Kuhn, Errico and Silverman (as Giorgio), the production also features Stephen Bogardus (Colonel Ricci), Jeffry Denman (Lieutenant Barri), Jason Michael Evans (Private Augenti), Ken Krugman (Lieutenant Torasso), Orville Mendoza (Sergeant Lombardi), Tom Nelis (Doctor Tambourri), Will Reynolds (Major Rizzoli/Ludovic), John Antony (understudy) and Amy Justman (understudy).
The production is directed and designed by John Doyle, with music direction by Rob Berman, orchestrations by Jonathan Tunick, costumes by Ann Hould-Ward, lighting by Jane Cox and sound by Dan Moses Schreier.
Passion is the inaugural production of CSC's Musical Theatre Initiative with support from The Ted and Mary Jo Shen Charitable Gift Fund and The Angelson Family Foundation.
For more information about the new production, visit classicstage.org.
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