Ana Gasteyer, Adam Brazier, Kathy Voytko
Featured Love Triangle in the
Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine Musical
Associate Artistic Director Gary Griffin Directs
In the Intimate Theater Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare
Chicago—October 10, 2007—Returning to Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) after directing The Color Purple on Broadway, Associate Artistic Director Gary Griffin stages the Tony Award-winning musical Passion, music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, and book by James Lapine. For Sondheim's hymn to romantic obsession, Griffin has assembled a stellar cast led by Ana Gasteyer as Fosca, Adam Brazier as Giorgio, and Kathy Voytko as Clara. Performances are scheduled now through November 11, 2007, Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare. Tickets can be purchased by calling Chicago Shakespeare Theater's Box Office at 312.595.5600 or by visiting the Theater's website at www.chicagoshakes.com.
CST Associate Artistic Director Gary Griffin has established himself as one of America's leading directors of musical theater and of Sondheim in Chicago, New York and London. He has gained nationwide recognition for his inspired staging of the Sondheim canon at Chicago Shakespeare, including Sunday in the Park with George, A Little Night Music, and Pacific Overtures—honored with five Joseph Jefferson Awards for its Chicago run and three prestigious Laurence Olivier Awards for the London run with Donmar Warehouse.
Regarding his return to Chicago Shakespeare, Griffin enthused, "Nothing says 'home' to me more powerfully than Sondheim—in the theater Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare. I have been looking for the perfect Sondheim show to explore in our intimate theater—and Passion is it. For this powerful meditation on discovering love in the most unlikely connections, we are assembling an ensemble of celebrated artists."
Based on the 1981 French film Passione d' Amore directed by Ettore Scola, and the nineteenth century novel Fosca, the original 1994 Broadway production of Passion directed by James Lapine garnered Tony Awards for Best Musical, Best Score and Best Book. Sondheim's rhapsodic musical about the yearnings and redemptive power of love is set in nineteenth century Italy and follows Giorgio, a young soldier torn between his relationship with his mistress, the beautiful Clara, and the sickly cousin of his commanding officer, Fosca, who persistently demands his love. While separated, Giorgio and Clara sing letters of love, devotion—and jealousy. Giorgio discovers that love is not easy, nor easily confined to a safe distance.
Bringing to life the role of the ill and desperate Fosca is Ana Gasteyer, renowned for her recent work on the Chicago stage as Elphaba in Wicked, and on Broadway in Wicked, The Threepenny Opera, and The Rocky Horror Show. She has also starred in six seasons on Saturday Night Live and blockbuster-hit films such as Mean Girls and What Women Want with Mel Gibson. She has performed her acclaimed one-woman show Let It Rip at venues around the country, including Joe's Pub in New York City and Cinegrill in Los Angeles. Adam Brazier, whose Broadway credits include The Woman in White and the Tony Award-winning revival of Sondheim's Into the Woods, will play the young soldier Giorgio. Adam has also performed in Pygmalion and Pal Joey at the esteemed Shaw Festival, and in Stratford Festival of Canada's productions of The Miracle Worker and Man of La Mancha. Giorgio's beautiful mistress will be played by Kathy Voytko, who appeared as the original Ariadne in Lincoln Center's production of Sondheim's The Frogs opposite Nathan Lane, as well as on Broadway in the 2002 revival of Oklahoma! directed by Trevor Nunn and choreographed by Susan Stroman, and the Tony Award-winning revival of Nine with Antonio Banderas and Chita Rivera. Chicago audiences will know her from her Joseph Jefferson Award-nominated performance in Circle Theatre's Putting It Together directed by Gary Griffin.
The cast is completed by: Larry Adams as Lieutenant Barri; Marlene Flood as Fosca's Mother; Neil Friedman as Major Rizzolli; Kevin Gudahl as Colonel Ricci; Mike Nussbaum as Doctor Tambouri; James Rank as Lieutenant Torasso; Jeremy Rill as Augenti/Lodovic; Jennie Sophia as Mistress; and Joseph Tokarz as Sergeant Lombardi.
The powerhouse production team is led by Tony Award-winning set designer Eugene Lee (Wicked, Saturday Night Live) and Tony Award-nominated costume designer Paul Tazewell (The Color Purple and A Midsummer Night's Dream at CST in 2000). Rob Berman (Broadway revivals of The Pajama Game, Wonderful Town, and The Music Man) will serve as music director of the lush and romantic score with Associate Musical Director, Ben Johnson, and Donald Byrd (The Color Purple) will choreograph. Additional design elements for Passion include lighting design by Paul Miller; sound design by James Savage; and wig and makeup design by Melissa Veal.
Performances of Passion are scheduled through November 11, 2007, Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare. The performance schedule is: Tuesday through Friday at 7:30 p.m., with a 1:00 p.m. matinee on Wednesday; Saturday at 3:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.; and Sunday at 3:00 p.m. Tickets are $54 for performances Tuesday through Thursday, and $70 Friday through Sunday.
PreAmbles, half-hour introductory lectures on Passion presented by scholars, will take place at 6:30 p.m. on select Fridays (October 19, 26) and at 2:00 p.m. on select Sundays (November 4, 11). Admission is free and reservations are not required. For further information about performances at Chicago Shakespeare Theater and to purchase tickets, call the Box Office at 312.595.5600 or visit the Theater's website at www.chicagoshakes.com.
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ComEd is the Official Lighting Design Sponsor of Chicago Shakespeare Theater.