20 years after taking its first bow in London, Peter Shaffer's Amadeus, again staged by Sir Peter Hall, returns to Broadway to open Dec. 15 at the Music Box Theatre. David Suchet and Michael Sheen introduced their Salieri and Mozart to New York audiences in performances beginnning Dec. 7.
Amadeus ran pre-Broadway at the Ahmanson Theatre Oct. 15-Nov. 28, breaking the Los Angeles venue's record for highest single ticket sales in one week with a $198,129 box office take. The previous high seller was Neil Simon's Proposals, which made $133,705 in one week.
The production features Suchet and Sheen reprising their roles as Salieri and Mozart from Hall's London revival. Amadeus picked up five Olivier Award nominations during its West End run, including Best Actor for Suchet and Outstanding Performance for Sheen.
Suchet is perhaps best known in America for playing Hercule Poirot in the PBS Mystery! series. A multi-award winner, Suchet's theatre credits include a recent West End performance as George opposite Diana Rigg in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and, as an associate artist with the Royal Shakespeare Company, Iago in Othello, Shylock in The Merchant of Venice and Caliban in The Tempest. Amadeus marks his Broadway debut.
Also making his Broadway debut, Sheen most recently performed in the West End revival of Look Back in Anger. His film credits include "Mary Reilly," "Othello" and "Wilde." The founder of the Thin Language Theatre Company, Sheen directs with the Foundry Production Company. The American cast features Cindy Katz (Constanze), Michael Keenan (Von Swieten), J.P. Linton (Von Strack), "The Man From U.N.C.L.E"'s David McCallum (Joseph II) and "Elizabeth" and "Tomorrow Never Dies"'s Terrence Rigby (Orsini Rosenberg), with the ensemble characters played by Jeffrey Bean, Glynis Bell, Geoffrey Blaisdell, Jake Broder, Charles Janasz, Robert Machray, Dan Mason, Kate Miller, Kevin Orton, John Rainer, William Ryall, Rocco Sisto and John Towey.
Author Shaffer's Tony-winning drama tells of artistic rivalry between the established court composer whose music played by all the rules, Antonio Salieri, and the musical genius who rewrote the way music would be understood, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. [Note: Shaffer, whose other plays include Lettice and Lovage and The Royal Hunt of the Sun, will appear on the Dec. 16 edition of Theatre Talk on PBS' Channel 13 in New York. Check local listings for further information.]
Hall directed the original production of the play in 1979 at London's National Theatre. That production moved to Broadway and starred Ian McKellen as Salieri and Tim Curry as Mozart. Amadeus won a 1981 Tony Award as Best Play for Shaffer, with the film, by Milos Forman ("One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest") winning the 1985 Academy Award as Best Picture. The film version starred F. Murray Abraham as Salieri (a role that won him the Academy Award) and Tom Hulce as Mozart.
Designers for Amadeus include William Dudley (an Olivier winner for his costumes), Paule Constable (lighting) and Matt McKenzie (sound).
Tickets for the Broadway run are priced at $25 - $70. The Music Box is located at 239 W. 45th Street.