|Jennie Eisenhower, Ben Michael|
& Liz Filios
The Arden Theatre Company, located at 40 N. 2nd Street in Philadelphia is presenting Stephen Sondheim’s Passion on its F. Otto Haas Stage through June 28. A 1994 Tony Award winner of Best Musical, Passion is worth every bit of the acclaim it received 21 years ago. In the opening number, Clara, portrayed by Jennie Eisenhower and Giorgio portrayed by Ben Michael sing of a love so all-encompassing that it brings nothing but happiness to their lives. When Giorgio gets reassigned to a remote military post, he promises to write every day and much of their story is told in letters sung to each other. Thom Weaver, as lighting designer, displays his genius, as each character is highlighted when coming forward to sing in the spotlight and then fading out when done. Scenic and video designer Jorge Cousineau also displays his brilliance with his video projections and set designs behind moving panels. The frequent scene changes are seamless. The ensemble of military men break into song at the drop of a hat and the melodies that spill from their mouths are incredible. The harmonies they produce are riveting. Fosca, passionately portrayed by Liz Filios, is a cousin to one of officers of the post. Her obsession with Giorgio nearly drives him mad. His rage is palpable, yet his feelings for her are undeniably deep. In a fantastic Sondheim moment, Fosca sings, the same lyrics to Giorgio near the end of the tale that Clara sang to him in the beginning. For more information or tickets to this incredible musical tale of desire, yearning, hunger, ache and heartache, call 215-922-1122 or visit online at www.ardentheatre.org or walk up to the box office at 40 N. 2nd Street.