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.