Passion is a musical play, first staged on Broadway in 1994, adapted from Ettore Scola's film Passione d'Amore (which was, in its turn, based on Igino Tarchetti's novel Fosca). The book was by James Lapine and music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Central themes include obsession, beauty, power, manipulation, passion, illness, and love.
Set in Italy in 1863, the plot revolves around Fosca, an ugly woman, and her love for Giorgio, a comely soldier who in turn is in love with an attractive, married woman named Clara. These roles were created by Donna Murphy, Jere Shea, and Marin Mazzie respectively.
Continuing a trend Sondheim and Lapine began with Sunday in the Park with George Passion is mostly through-composed, weaving dialogue and song effortlessly. It is also a partially epistolary play, being told in part through letters.
Beginning previews on March 24, 1994, Passion opened on Broadway on May 9, 1994 and closed on January 7, 1995, completing a run of 280 performances. Nominated for 11 Tony Awards, It was awarded the Tony for Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, Best Musical Score, and Best Actress in a Musical (Donna Murphy). Like many Sondheim shows, Passion was critically acclaimed, but failed to find popular appeal. It is the shortest running musical ever to win the Tony Award for Best Musical.
After Broadway the show was mounted, with minor revisions, in London. The role of Giorgio was played by Michael Ball. Fosca was played by Maria Friedman, who had previously appeared in several Sondheim musicals in the UK. The show closed after a brief run at the Queen's Theatre. The London cast was not officially recorded during the production run, but a recording was later made of the show performed in concert, with nearly all of the original London cast recreating their roles and preserving the musical changes from the earlier production.
In 2005 the show was performed in the Netherlands, and a Dutch language recording was released -one of the few translations of a Sondheim score.→