No, Mozart doesn't live, but Amadeuswill sport a few changes when the Peter Shaffer drama arrives in New York City. Although most are minor "tweakings" of the script and the excesses of Mozart's character, Shaffer has rewritten the pivotal confession scene at the end of the second act to "edge away from melodrama into human drama," according to an Ahmanson spokesperson.
Reviewer Jay Reiner of the Hollywood Reporter found the new Amadeus clarified: "The source of Salieri's torment is made particularly clear in Shaffer's elegant rewrite: His quarrel is not with Mozart but with God, who seems to have abandoned Salieri despite his best efforts to be faithful."
Amadeus opened Oct. 10 to rave reviews at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles and will run there through Nov. 28 (previews began Oct. 5). The show reaches the Great White Way with previews starting Dec. 7 and an opening Dec. 15 at the Music Box Theatre. Sir Peter Hall directs.
Although the production features David Suchet and Michael Sheen reprising their roles as Salieri and Mozart from Hall's London revival, the L.A./Broadway production will not incorporate the rest of the London cast. 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), David McCallum (Joseph II) and 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.
Peter 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.
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.
Hall began an annual commitment to the Ahmanson this year, where he directed two star-studded Shakespeares this summer, A Midsummer Night's Dream and Measure for Measure.
Designers for Amadeus include William Dudley (an Olivier winner for his costumes), Paule Constable (lighting) and Matt McKenzie (sound).
Tickets are priced at $25 - $70 and are available through Telecharge at (212) 239-6200.