VINTAGE PLAYBILL: Amadeus, Starring Tim Curry and Ian McKellen

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17 Dec 2012

On this date in 1980, Peter Shaffer's Amadeus made its Broadway premiere, starring Ian McKellen as the tortured Salieri and Tim Curry as the title composer. The Playbill Vault looks back on the show's opening night.

On Dec. 17, 1980, six years after his enormous success with Equus, playwright Peter Shaffer returned to Broadway with Amadeus following its 1979 premiere at London's National Theatre.

New York Times reviewer Frank Rich called Shaffer's new play "angry and thrilling" and hailed McKellen's "remarkable transformation" and Curry's "impressively fine-tuned performance."

The play proved a critical and popular hit and went on to win the 1981 Tony for Best Play. Peter Hall earned an award for his direction, while McKellen won the Best Actor Tony over fellow nominee and co-star Curry. John Bury nearly swept the design categories, earning awards for his Best Lighting and Best Scenic Design and a nomination for Best Costume Design.

The 1980 Playbill features original production photos, vintage headshots, and early-career bios from McKellen, Curry and Jane Seymour, who made her Broadway debut as Mozart's wife Constanze.



Read the full opening night Playbill in the Vault.