Despite two Tony nominations and eight Outer Critic's Circle nods (none of which it took home), Amadeus will close at Broadway's Music Box Theatre May 14. The revival of Peter Shaffer's biodrama of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's life ends after 10 previews and 165 regular performances.
Amadeus stars David Suchet as Salieri, the court composer punished by his own mediocrity in comparison to his brilliant rival, Mozart. Michael Sheen plays the world-famous composer. The closing announcement came just one day after the revival received two Tony nominations: Best Revival of a Play and a Best Actor nod for Suchet.
According to press representatives, a national tour and Australian production are under discussion.
Reviews for Amadeus were generally positive, but not glowing. The week of May 1-7, the play did 48.8 percent business (to $160,484), down some $49,469 from the week before.
A factor in the play's speedy exit may have nothing at all to do with Amadeus itself but with the Music Box Theatre's next tenant. The Kelsey Grammer Macbeth is the likely next candidate for the theatre. Although designed for the bigger Virginia Theatre (home to seven-time Tony nominated The Wild Party), Macbeth could start performances as early as a month after Amadeus shutters. *
Twenty years after taking its first bow in London, Peter Shaffer's Amadeus, again staged by Sir Peter Hall, returned to Broadway with previews Dec. 7, 1999 and an opening Dec. 15, 1999 at the Music Box Theatre.
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, respectively, 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, for which he was nominated for an Olivier Award. 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.
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.