News: Ruthie Henshall to lead re-imagining of Passion

Olivier Award winner and Musical Theatre icon Ruthie Henshall (Les Miserables; Miss Saigon; Oliver; Crazy For You; Chicago; Billy Elliot) will lead a reimagining of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s multi-award-winning Passion at the Hope Mill Theatre for a limited run. Under the direction of Michael Strassen (Pacific Overtures; Company; Assassins), Henshall will breathe life into this anticipated revival, reenergising the tale of love, sex and obsession in a new dynamic staging. In its strictly limited run of 37 performances at The Hope Mill, the producers are embracing Manchester’s “Factory of Creativity” to re-develop the show for a future life. Further casting will be announced in due course.

Arguably Sondheim’s most lyrical and romantic work, Passion is a legendary musical based on Ettore Scola’s Italian film, Passion d’Amore. Situated in 19th Century Italy, the production tells the tale of a young soldier, Giorgio, who is obsessively pursued by the relation of his superior officer, Fosca – a woman prone to severe melancholy and mania. Strassen’s modern retelling of the tale, with movement direction by Sundeep Saini (As You Like It, Little Shop of Horrors),
will put Fosca front and centre, finding the real heart and truth within the piece.

Exploring the consequences of intense passion and obsessive adoration, Passion is a ravishing and thought-provoking look at the lengths people go to for desire. The renowned musical will be revitalised with modern staging and production, and provides an opportunity to see what is regarded as one of Sondheim’s most personal explorations up close, whilst it is being developed and conceived in Manchester.

Henshall commented: “I am so honoured to finally have the opportunity to play the role of Fosca, in one of my all time favourite musicals. From even before I was involved in ‘Putting It Together’ on Broadway, I fell in love with Stephen Sondheim’s music and lyrics; and I only continue to do so more and more each day. Passion is a deep exploration of what it is to love, and be loved; If that wasn’t enough, the score is some of the best musical theatre ever written. To be able to develop this show in such an intimate space and alongside one of my dearest friends Michael Strassen (director), only makes this production an even more rare and exciting event.”

Passion features the music and lyrics of the legendary Stephen Sondheim, whose prolific portfolio includes West Side Story, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Company, Follies and his new musical Square One, which premieres next year on Broadway. His longtime collaboration with writer James Lapine, which also produced the award-winning Sunday in the Park with George and Into The Woods, brings this rich tale to life.

Passions runs at the Hope Mill Theatre from Thursday 5 May – Sunday 5 June 2022.

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