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a Drama
by Peter Schaffer

COMPANY : Rosewater Theatre Company [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Rosewater Theatre [WEBSITE]
ID# 3900

SHOWING : November 26, 2010 - December 18, 2010



Are we going to appall you with something confidential and disgusting, because that is what you like? Unconfessed crimes and buried wickedness. If that is what brings you to us, the prospect of hearing horrors, you shall not go unrewarded. What a story. What a scandal. What a comedy. What a tragedy. He is divinely inspired. He is arrogant, vulgar, and obscene. He creates music for the gods. He is passionate. He burns with fire. He is an angel. He is a devil. Amadeus. The man. The music. The magic. The madness. The murder. The mystery. Itís all true. Winner of a Tony Award for Best Play, the Academy Award for Best Film, and triumphant in recent revivals in the West End and on Broadway, this provocative work weaves a confrontation between mediocrity and genius into a tale of breathtaking dramatic power. In the court of the Austrian Emperor Josef, Antonio Salieri is the established composer. Enter the greatest musical genius of all time: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Salieri has given himself to God so that he might realize his sole ambition to be a great composer. Mozart is a foul-mouthed, graceless oaf who has that which is beyond Salieri's envious grasp: Genius.

For Mature Audiences Only

Director G. Scott Riley
Light design Deryl Cape
Venticelli II Nicholas Amideo
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Nathaniel Collum
Leopold Mozart/Anton Schikaneder Brad Corbin
Lorl/Princess Elizabeth Andrea Fennell
Katherina Cavalieri Jennifer Hutcheson
Antonio Salieri Jerry Jobe
Emperor Joseph II John Mistretta
Constanze Weber Meghan Moonan
Venticelli I Colson Peacock
Baron Van Swieten Edward Smucygz
Count Orsini-Rosenberg Joe Springer
Count Von Strack John Stutte
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production


by playgoer
Sunday, December 12, 2010
The most joyful experiences in theatre for me are when a production captures my attention from the start, wraps me in its spell, and keeps me rapt throughout. Rosewater's "Amadeus" is such a production.

Almost by definition, a captivating, entrancing production cannot have one element that far surpasses others in its quality. It's the evenness of the elements that makes this production so successful. The late 18th century costumes by Bubba's Costumes are glorious, and are perhaps the most successful component. Lighting helps the costumes shine and focuses attention as the action moves among numerous playing areas. Acting doesn't draw attention to itself; there are no false moments that use an artificial dramatic pacing or declamation to make a point. The action unfolds as if inevitable, at the stately pace of a classical piece of music. I came to look forward even to the set changes, which rearrange the same set pieces (a sofa, armchairs, a pianoforte, a fireplace, a table) to suggest different locales. Odd as it may seem, the sudden appearance of a rude wooden bench onstage came as almost a shock, showing as it did a departure from the rather rarefied Viennese courtly atmosphere to a music hall in the suburbs.

The set turns Rosewater's theatre in the round into a performing space with audience on three sides. The fourth side has been fitted with steep steps leading to a false proscenium stage used for onstage representations of Mozart's works, but also for our initial glimpse of an aged Salieri claiming in delirium that he was responsible for Mozart's death. Blocking makes effortless use of the space, giving equal face time to all three sides of the audience. An important component of the set is candles on several surfaces that remain lit throughout the show. One lovely moment for me came when one candle burned itself out in the second act, leaving a misty cloud of smoke levitating in mid-air before dissipating. Had that moment coincided with Mozart's onstage death, it would have been magical. As it was, it enhanced a tender scene between Mozart and his wife Constanze.

I understand that director G. Scott Riley gained permission to incorporate scenes from the movie into the script of the play (both written by Peter Schaffer). My exposures to the play and movie were not recent enough for me to detect the differences. The action was seamless. Whatever the changes were, they worked. I found the production as enthralling as a new play I was just being introduced to.

The play "Amadeus" will succeed or fail based on the performances of its court composer Salieri, its Mozart, and Mozart's wife Constanze. Jerry Jobe, Nathaniel Collum, and Meghan Moonan all do fine work in their respective roles. The relationships hit no false notes. All other roles are relatively minor. I was particularly taken with Joe Springer's Italian accent and bearing as Count Orsini-Rosenberg, and I was disappointed in the inferior diction and projection of the taller of the two Venticelli. There were no surprising acting or casting choices in the production, which helped maintain the evenness of quality.

I did not go into "Amadeus" expecting to like it particularly. I had heard that the show is long (3.5 hours, plus intermission), and the award-winning movie would seem to provide a daunting point of comparison. The show, though, managed to flow cinematically, using a musical soundtrack to carry the action along, while still remaining theatrical in an understated way. It's a story masterfully told. I was delighted to be taken in by its spell and to spend an evening at Rosewater Theatre luxuriating in the magic of the production. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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