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YMMV / Passion

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From the play:

  • Critical Dissonance: This show is famous for being polarizing, partially because of its Stalker with a Crush premise. When it opened in 1994, critical reviews were very positive, and it won the Tony Award for Best Musical. However, audiences were said to be "repulsed" by Fosca, with one member of the audience actually shouting "Die, Fosca! Die!" from the balcony at one performance. Audiences were known to applaud whenever Fosca broke down. Stephen Sondheim maintains that this is due to the show's honesty, and that the audience identified with Giorgio and Fosca "too readily and uncomfortably"; it ultimately had the shortest run of a Best Musical winner to date, closing in less than a year. Such unfortunate audience reactions stopped after alterations to the book: Dialogue was added to make Fosca and Giorgio seem more alike (the scenes in which they talk of enjoying the same Rousseau novel and one in which Giorgio tells Fosca how he dreamed of being able to visit the stars as a child), and Fosca's "ugliness" was referred to as "wretchedness" instead. The popular "Loving You" was also added.
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  • Draco in Leather Pants: Despite the initial negative reaction to Fosca, it's very easy for audiences nowadays to view her with increasing sympathy considering her status as The Woobie combined with her tragic backstory...but she is technically the antagonist of the show and a lot of her actions regarding Giorgio are questionable at best.
  • Hollywood Homely: Sondheim has said one of the reasons they weren't sure of Donna Murphy for the role of Fosca before her stellar audition was because she was (is) exotically beautiful; he is of the opinion that they never really fixed that problem, even with the hair and makeup treatment they gave her to make her look sickly.


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