Stephen Sondheims Passion Original Broadway Cast
Donna Murphy (Actor), Jere Shea (Actor), James Lapine (Director)
Broadway Musicals DVD
BM01 Broadway Musicals DVD - Donna Murphy (Actor), Jere Shea (Actor), James Lapine (Director) - Stephen Sondheims Passion Original Broadway Cast - Broadway Musicals DVD - The Passion DVD commentary track offers a rare opportunity to hear composer Stephen Sondheim discussing his work, joined by writer-director James Lapine, artistic associate Ira Weitzman, and actors Donna Murphy, Marin Mazzie, and Jere Shea. (Sondheim, Lapine, and cast also recorded a commentary for Sunday in the Park with George.) Things get off to a rousing star with the opening nude scene, as the others pepper Mazzie with questions such as where the microphone was stashed. Their giddiness is a lot of fun (after one five-second waltz they say We hope you enjoyed the big dance number. and Murphy recalls that her husband asked, Do I have to have breakfast with Fosca? Wash your hair, for Chrissakes.). But there are serious moments too. Passion is a powerful, challenging work that tends to polarize audiences, and the group discusses how they felt about some of the reactions they received. Note that the commentary should put to rest the old rumor that they filmed an alternate version of the opening scene that revealed more nudity. An unforgettable chronicle of the redemptive power of love, this is a mesmerizing musical rhapsody from the Broadway team of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine. In 19th century Italy, handsome soldier Giorgio, is embroiled in a steamy affair with lovely, and married, Clara. Giorgio is transferred from Milan to a remote military outpost where he comes into contact with the ailing, homely Fosca, his commanding officer's cousin. Fosca falls instantly and deeply in love with Giorgio, who resists her affections. Gradually she reveals, and Giorgio learns to appreciate, what is truly beautiful about herself. This highly acclaimed Broadway musical features extraordinary performances from Donna Murphy (The King and I), Marin Mazzie (Ragtime, Kiss Me Kate) and Jere Shea (Damn Yankees). A haunting study of obsessive love, this striking production offers a visual and musical feast that will linger in your heart and soul forever. Winner of 4 Tony Awards: Best Musical, Best Actress (Musical) - Donna Murphy, Best Book (Musical) - James Lapine, Best Original Musical Score - Stephen Sondheim. But the great thing about the filmed version of Passion is how appropriate it was. It is exquisitely filmed - moreso than Sunday or Woods - and the direction lets you get close to these amazing characters. The costumes are gorgeous from end to end, and the physical acting was often fairly subtle on the stage. That means that it all came off the better on film. And the way the musical was produced was absolutely appropriate for film. It feels like you're seeing a really interesting filmic version sometimes rather than a staged production. That's the real triumph of this DVD: it feels like the show was meant for it. If you even remotely like Sondheim or serious works of musical theatre, you owe it to yourself to buy this DVD as soon as possible. For a long time, both the original Broadway cast recording and the videod version of Sondheim's chamber opera masterpiece, Passion, were out of print. I wore out my VHS copy sometime in the late 1990s. I have an original print of the CD. I've heard stories that copies of the CD went on eBay for upwards of $100. Now, within the span of a year, the CD was rereleased, and the film was transferred onto a fantastic DVD, which all Sondheimite's should own. Yes, you should get this DVD because it preserves the Tony-winning original production of Stephen Sondheim's Passion. Yes, the show is excellent and probably works better on video, where the lack of opportunities to applaud aren't so jarring. Yes, the seamless transition from song to speech and back again proves surprisingly effective and engrossing. All of these are compelling reasons to buy this DVD.
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