Thaxton will play the young soldier Giorgio and Strallen his mistress Clara in the show, which is based on the Italian film Passione d’Amore and set amongst a military battalion in a bleak frontier town. Roger plays Fosca, the lonely cousin of the Colonel whose obsessive passion threatens the happiness of the young lovers.
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.
Scarlett Strallen has played the title role in Mary Poppins in the West End (for which she was nominated for a Whatsonstage.com Award for Best Takeover in a Role) and on Broadway. Her other credits include Mamma Mia!, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and The Music Man at Chichester. She is rumoured to be playing Cinderella in the Open Air Theatre's forthcoming summer revival of another Sondheim/Lapine musical, Into the Woods (See The Goss, 3 Feb 2010).
David Thaxton is currently appearing in Les Miserables at the Queen's Theatre, where he has played Enjolras since 2008 (having previously been an ensemble member). His other credits include Sweeney in Sweeney Todd (Norwich Playhouse), Harasta in The Cunning Little Vixen (Cardiff Sherman) and Warchild for NYMT (Anglian tour).
Director Jamie Lloyd told the Daily Mail recently that he wants a "younger, sexier" cast for the show, adding: "For some reason, Passion is often cast older, but when I saw Scarlett and David together they were romantically and erotically charged and quite hot!"