The musical premiered on Broadway May 9, 1994, at the Plymouth (now Schoenfeld) Theatre starring Donna Murphy as Fosca, Jere Shea as Giorgio and Marin Mazzie as Clara. Though critical reception was generally positive ("Passion is just plain wonderful," wrote Clive Barnes), audiences were less enthusiastic, and the production ran only 280 performances.
The new musical fared better at the Tony Awards. Of its ten nominations, the production earned awards for Sondheim's score, James Lapine's book, Murphy's performance, and Best Musical of 1994. Passion is the shortest-running Best Musical Tony winner in Broadway history.