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Audiences were not kind to Fosca, the sickly woman at the center of Passion, when the Stephen Sondheim/James Lapine musical first ran on Broadway. They laughed frequently (it’s not a comedy) and one incensed fan famously screamed “Die, Fosca! Die!” during a performance. These reactions accurately reflect that Passion swerves away from the traditional romance plot viewers might expect from a musical. Set in Italy during its 19th century unification period, it follows the relationship between a young army captain, his married lover, and the ailing woman whose devotion transforms all three of them. Yes, it is a love story at its core, but one wrapped up in themes of obsession, desire, and loneliness. It lacks the cynicism and dark humor of Sondheim’s better known works like Sweeney Todd and Company, yet its characters seem more haunting. Signature Theatre, the region’s foremost interpreter of Sondheim’s work, opens its season with a new staging of the musical that sees Natascia Diaz take on the role of Fosca. Just remember to save your audible comments for after the show. Read more>>> The musical runs Aug. 14 to Sept. 23 at Signature Theatre, 4200 Campbell Ave., Arlington. $40–$99. (703) 820-9771. sigtheatre.org(Caroline Jones)

OH AND ALSO

Pushing the Envelope, a new exhibition showcasing intricate mail art, is on view at the Archives of American Art Lawrence A Fleischman Gallery. 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. at 8th and F streets NW. Free.

Blues-folk group Kris Lager Band performs at Pearl Street Warehouse. 6 p.m. at 33 Pearl St. SW. Free.

Former Boston Globe reporter Keith O’Brien discusses Fly Girls, his new book chronicling how five brave women fought to make aviation history, at Politics and Prose. 7 p.m. at 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free.

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