Glenn Griffin and Kristian Wedolowski have a passion for innovative theater. The founders of Queen City Theatre Company are wrapping up their 2011-12 season with Stephen Sondheim’s musical, “Passion,” which runs May 3-19. The production caps off a season that explored love and acceptance. After five years, the theatrical team reflects on their company past, present and future.
Q. What can audiences expect from “Passion”?
Griffin: It takes place in the 1860s in Italy. The story is extremely romantic. When the show was on Broadway, it was so big. People didn’t understand this odd love story between a soldier and kind of homely woman. I saw it in 2010 at the Donmar Warehouse in London and they did it in a small theater. When you’re right there in front of them, you get it. That was when I knew we had to do it.
Wedolowski: With a period piece, you usually see the show from far away. It’s so grand and beautiful that I can’t imagine seeing these beautiful costumes from the audience.
Q. How did working with Sondheim in New York influence your directing style?
Griffin: It really makes you into a fan of somebody when you see what a genius they are. I tell the cast that every word is important, every note is important, because Sondheim does it for a reason.
Q. What was it like to direct Kristian as the lead, Giorgio?
Griffin: Kris brought something to the role that I really wanted. He auditions like everybody else and I direct him just as hard, maybe even more so.
Q. How do you handle controversy over your boundary-pushing shows?
Griffin: You can’t be afraid of stepping on people’s toes. Theater is supposed to make you look at the world in a different way.
Q. What are your hopes for Charlotte’s theater scene?
Wedolowski: My dream is to have Charlotte be this big multicultural metropolis. New York is the first financial district in the U.S., and Charlotte is the second one, so why not make Charlotte the second Broadway as well?
Griffin: There’s so much theater going on in New York and it can be the same in Charlotte. We can have a whole bunch of shows and audiences need to not be afraid to go.