The production reunites Roger with Donmar associate Jamie Lloyd, who directed her in the title role in Piaf, for which she won an Olivier for Best Actress in a Musical. The production transferred to the West End and Roger’s native Buenos Aires after its initial run at the Donmar in 2008.
The Donmar has had a long association with Sondheim, who commented today: “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 honoured 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.”
Based on the Italian film Passione d’Amore, which was adapted from a 19th-century novella, Passion is set amongst a battalion of soldiers in a bleak frontier town, where lonely Fosca’s obsessive passion threatens the happiness of Giorgio and his beautiful mistress Clara.
The musical, with music and lyrics by Sondheim and a book by James Lapine, premiered on Broadway in 1994, when it won three Tony Awards, for Best Musical, Best Score and Best Book. A revised version of the show had its West End premiere in 1996, starring Maria Friedman, Michael Ball and Helen Hobson. Stephen Sondheim turns 80 on 22 March 2010.
Also announced today for the Donmar Warehouse later in 2010 is Michael Grandage’s new production of King Lear starring Derek Jacobi and revivals of The Late Middle Classes with Helen McCrory and The Prince of Homburg with Ian McDiarmid and Charlie Cox (See Today’s Other News).