Spokesman: Amadeus is just as compelling nearly a half century after its debut

Acclaim was quickly bestowed upon “Amadeus” after the play opened at London’s Royal National Theater in 1979. The following year, the beloved musical debuted on Broadway and “Amadeus” won the Tony Award for Best Play in 1981.

There’s no play quite like “Amadeus,” which will be performed Friday through Feb. 25 at the Spokane Civic Theatre. Playwright Peter Shaffer’s fictionalized account of the lives of composers Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Antonio Salieri, is compelling, witty, amusing and dramatic.

“It’s really an epic story that you can’t help but enjoy,” said “Amadeus” director Melody Deatherage. “It’s a fabulous show about a trailblazer, and there is so much music that is just tremendous. I’m humbled by my cast.”

Dan Bisbee plays the dastardly Salieri and Mitch Heid portrays the legendary Mozart.

“Dan is remarkable as Salieri, and Mitch brings so much wonder and playfulness to Mozart,” Deatherage said. “Dan is masterful with his delivery of Salieri’s monologues. It’s so enjoyable working with such talented actors, who are part of a story that is so grand.

“It’s Salieri’s story with his struggle with God and jealousy and resentment of Mozart’s musical genius.”

It’s captivating watching Salieri become destroyed by his all consuming loathing of Mozart.

“It gets dark, but there is humor in the play,” Deatherage said. “It’s fascinating when we get into the head of Salieri.”

There are a number of sets for “Amadeus,” and so the Civic tabbed Stage Left Artistic Director Jeremy Whittington as the guest scenic designer.

“We move around to so many different locations in the city of Vienna,” Deatherage said. “We’re in a variety of opera houses and Salieri’s apartment and Mozart’s apartment.

“We’re so happy to have Jeremy bring his vision to the play. He’s come up with some interesting and intriguing set designs. Jeremy made a big impact. We also have a very dedicated group of 15 actors and a hard-working crew that is all about making this a tremendous show.”

Deatherage has seen the play and film, which won a staggering eight Academy Awards in 1984, but this is the first time she’s directing the production.

“What surprised me is that I forgot about the depth of language with ‘Amadeus,’ ” Deatherage said. “It’s extraordinary. The volume of language is just incredible. If you love language and are up for an engrossing, entertaining story with great music, it’s hard to top ‘Amadeus.’ ”


If You Go


When: Friday through Feb. 25, 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays.

Where: Spokane Civic Theatre, 1020 N. Howard St.

Cost: $38, $33 for seniors and military, and $15 for students

Info: (509) 325-2507; www.spokanecivictheatre.com


Read the full article here.

Article by Ed Condran

Photograph by Chris Wooley, Heads and Tails Photography