Passion - Casting Announced

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Passion - Casting Announced#1
Posted: 7/30/10 at 2:34am
Elena Roger, David Thaxton and Scarlett Strallen, who are the three leads in Jamie Lloyd's radicalised version of the Stephen Sondheim-James Lapine musical Passion.
The show starts rehearsals next month and begins performances at the Donmar in Covent garden on September 10. Lloyd told me he has worked intensively with Sondheim and lapine on making the central trio of characters the heart of the show.
'I want to create an intense, hot-house atmosphere where all the emotions are at bursting point,' he said.
Thaxton plays a young officer who is married to Strallen. But Fosca (played by Roger) becomes obsessed by him and loves him beyond reason.

Lloyd explained that Roger and Strallen are the only women in the production.
'The men in the show, all of whom are playing soldiers, will play all the other roles, including the female ones.
'It'll make it more of an intimate chamber piece. I think past productions have been marvellous but overblown, and I want to strip it right down and give it the atmosphere of a psychological thriller.'
He explained that Sondheim has cut some of the score, and trimmed and changed lyrics, while lapine has reshaped the book.
'I email and call them and then we chat about and discuss the pros and cons of each change,' lloyd told me. 'Sondheim's such a nuts-and-bolts man and he's intrigued by everything - the casting, the sets and the whole process of it.'
He said the piece would be ten to 15 minutes shorter than the original london production, which starred Maria Friedman and Michael Ball, and will not have an interval.


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Passion - Casting Announced#2
Posted: 7/30/10 at 11:21am
I definitely like Scarlett Strallen for Clara. I hope the cut music is from the Soldiers' scenes and not from the three principals.

BTW, Giorgio is NOT married to Clara. They are lovers.
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Passion - Casting Announced#2
Posted: 7/30/10 at 11:58am
Edit it!
It was barely 90 mins anyways!
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Passion - Casting Announced#3
Posted: 7/30/10 at 12:13pm
The Original Broadway Cast DVD says it runs about 115 minutes, and that is without the "No one has ever loved me" that Sondheim added for Michael Ball in the London production, AFAIK. So that would make it about 100 minutes now, wouldn't it?
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Passion - Casting Announced#4
Posted: 7/30/10 at 12:50pm
It played without an interval and I was sure it was just over 90mins. Maybe it did stretch to just under 2hrs.
A stunning production that made the following London production look rather cheap and shabby.
Oh wait a sec! -it was a Kenwright production!
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Passion - Casting Announced#5
Posted: 7/30/10 at 5:42pm
I know nothing of David Thaxton but the 2 female leads seem very appropriate. Am looking forward to seeing this musical again
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Passion - Casting Announced#6
Posted: 7/30/10 at 5:56pm
David Thaxton played Enjolras in Les Mis for two years. Before that (back in 2005) he was co-recipient of the Welsh Young Musical Theatre Singer Of The Year Award along with Hayley Gallivan (Spring Awakening, Grease). He is also a former member of the male choir Only Men Aloud (before they went on to win BBC's Last Choir Standing contest). His vocals are pretty amazing.
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Passion - Casting Announced#7
Posted: 7/30/10 at 6:18pm
It's probably safe to call him the dark horse of the production, but he is phenomenal and they seem to really have wanted him as Giorgio.
(This is the Spotlight CV: http://www.spotlight.com/interactive/cv/1/M115188.html Many clips on YouTube, too, very easily discovered.)

I can't wait to see this, with him, Roger and Strallen it appears to be brilliant casting.
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Passion - Casting Announced#8
Posted: 7/31/10 at 4:36am
Loving the three leads. Really not loving the choice of director. The two things I've seen by him were, respectively, the most boring productions I saw in 2009 and so far in 2010.

And yes, David Thaxton is extremely talented and also marvelously attractive.
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Passion - Casting Announced#9
Posted: 7/31/10 at 7:09am
I can retell my David Thaxton story!.....we saw him as an excellent Sweeney with the Norfolk youth music theatre(?) in Norwich and then the following year in Kings Lynn. It can't have been more than 5 or 6 years ago.

Amusing bit...the boy who sang Toby (all of 12) started the 2nd act with the beer garden song (same tune as his song with Pirelli in Act 1), with the act 1 lyrics, realised his mistake, grimaced, mouthed f*** and carried on!

I never realised till Passion came up Thaxton had become famous.
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Passion - Casting Announced#10
Posted: 8/4/10 at 5:10am
It's remarkable how closely involved Sondheim is, he seems to really be part of the progress and rehearsals. As they are reshaping the score and libretto and focussing it even more on the leads, I'm expecting at least some kind of nomination somewhere for Elena Roger, I would be susprised if not. And with more intensity, Giorgio and even Clara can become the perfect canvas for very strong acting and emotional performances... and award nods...? It's the Donmar, after all.
Updated On: 8/4/10 at 05:10 AM
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Passion - Casting Announced#11
Posted: 9/3/10 at 7:55am
As this has been put up on the WOS message board already, I thought it fitting to bump this thread. Once again something from the Daily Mail, from rehearsals.

"Musical menage a trois offers a ration of passion

Jamie Lloyd uses the words 'love' and ' intimacy' a lot as we watch an intense moment during rehearsals of Stephen Sondheim's musical Passion at the Donmar.
The show begins performances a week today and Lloyd's three leads - Elena Roger, Scarlett Strallen and David Thaxton - are involved in extraordinary scenes of yearning.
Elena plays Fosca, a sickly woman who becomes obsessed with Giorgio, a dashing captain played by Thaxton.
He, however, is unmoved by her fierce demonstrations of her desire for him. He also happens to be having a fling with Clara, a married woman played by Scarlett.
'Fosca has no choice but to love him,' the director whispers, as we watch his company.
Thaxton explains that it takes a while for his character to fully understand the small, delicate woman who throws herself at him.
The piece has been a revelation to all three actors, who studied Sondheim's source material Iginio Ugo Tarchetti's novel Fosca and the movie made from it called Passione d'Amore.
'We know everything now. Every moment means something,' Elena said. (She and director Lloyd have had a close professional relationship since they worked together on Evita and Piaf.)
Scarlett told me that the ten-strong ensemble came up with backstories for all the characters. 'Everyone on stage brings their own history, and you feel it.'
Thaxton said that it adds to the sense of intensity and claustrophobia. 'The way we're doing it, everyone has so many things to do, so many emotions to convey . . . there's nowhere to hide.' Especially for him, because he never leaves the stage - not even to change. Initially, Thaxton, 28, went up for a smaller role, but casting director Anne McNulty and musical director Alan Williams suggested he read the Giorgio part, and Jamie concurred. It was an astute choice because watching him during the rehearsals, Thaxton seemed to have all the makings of a major leading man, with a voice to die for to boot."

This and a picture of Thaxton and Roger in rehearsals:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1308565/Helena-Bonham-Carter-Colin-Firths-The-Kings-Speech-real-Oscar-chance.html#ixzz0ySIEjVio

Can't wait!!
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Passion - Casting Announced#12
Posted: 9/3/10 at 12:37pm
Thanks Ducky.
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Passion - Casting Announced#13
Posted: 9/4/10 at 1:37pm
some extra tickets have just been released for the matinee on the 6th october at 2.30pm.
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Passion - Casting Announced#14
Posted: 9/6/10 at 2:46pm
Is the run open-ended?
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Passion - Casting Announced#15
Posted: 9/6/10 at 3:04pm
Donmar productions are always closed runs.
'Passion' closes Nov 27th.
Updated On: 9/6/10 at 03:04 PM
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Passion - Casting Announced#16
Posted: 9/10/10 at 8:55pm
I don't know if anyone is interested, but I thought the first preview tonight was magificent. It really is a fantastic cast and overall a very good production that is presumably going to get even better and smoother during the previews. As it all develops over the 1h 45m it becomes darker and more gripping and haunting, the change of atmosphere is well done. The guys in the ensemble were absolutely wonderful, especially David Birrell as the Colonel; Scarlett Strallen was charming and gave Clara enough depth to feel for her, Elena Roger was very fascinating and intriguing, playing Fosca as a very soft and sometimes even playful character in gestures and voice (although I think she was sounding slightly off at times), and David Thaxton was marvellous (and, frankly, gorgeous), not just vocally but also especially (but not exclusively) in terms of the very intense last half hour.

For a few more days, there will be this interview with the three leads, Jamie Lloyd and Alan Williams available on the BBC Radio website, it also includes three songs ("Happiness", "The Letter", "Is this what you call love?"), and starts about 1:08 in.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/console/b00tmj5w/In_Tune_06_09_2010_Pavol_Breslik_Maria_Begtsson_Sondheims_Passion
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Passion - Casting Announced#17
Posted: 9/10/10 at 11:33pm
I wish I can see it right now !!!!
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Passion - Casting Announced#18
Posted: 9/11/10 at 8:01am
I enjoyed this last night. The cast are great, and there is something intriguing about the characters.

I just don't necessarily get what the piece wants to be 100%. It baffles me.

But, as I said I did enjoy it and its directed and staged beautifully.
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Passion - Casting Announced#19
Posted: 9/11/10 at 10:33am
God, I don't get to see it until November! I can't wait that long!
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Passion - Casting Announced#20
Posted: 9/11/10 at 1:16pm
Likewise. I have tickets for November but not sure I can wait that long!

Suspect I may find myself going in for day tickets this week.
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Passion - Casting Announced#21
Posted: 9/11/10 at 1:35pm
I'll be dayseating it up in early October. I hope it doesn't catch on until later in the month so I don't have to be there ridiculously early! But then, knowing me, I probably will be there ridiculously early. Ah well. XD
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Passion - Casting Announced#22
Posted: 9/12/10 at 10:52am
I really want to go and will day seat for it too if I can be bothered to get out of bed! Lol!
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Passion - Casting Announced#23
Posted: 9/12/10 at 10:57am
How I wish I were young and fit enough to day seat! lol
THEATRE 2019: ASPECTS OF LOVE**** FRANKENSTEIN (Paris)**** AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE**** COMPANY***** [title of show]**** CAN CAN*** THE CEREAL CAFE**** BAD GIRLS**** RAGS***** LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE***** FOLLIES***** ROMANCE ROMANCE**** THE MARVELOUS WONDERETTES*** LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE***** QUEEN OF THE MIST**** SIX** THE PRICE***** MAGGIE MAY **** CALENDAR GIRLS** MAN OF LA MANCHA**** WAITRESS***** FANNY AND STELLA***
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Passion - Casting Announced#24
Posted: 9/12/10 at 2:41pm
I so want to see this but I am in Spain and can't get away. Having seen Ms Roger in Evita and Piaf I just know she is going to be right as Fosca. She and Scarlett Strallen and David Thaxton are talking about it on this radio 3 programme along with Jamie Lloyd. Their segment starts at 1:08:35. They sing as well and it all sounds fabulous.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00tmj5w