Amadeus was immortalized in 1984 on the silver screen thanks to the writing talents of the original playwright Peter Shaffer. Now, the Tony Award-winning story of music’s greatest composer and the man who harbored a deadly envy for him are coming to North Coast Repertory theatre to kick off the 38th season, opening on Sept. 7.
‘Amadeus,’ despite its name, puts much emphasis on studying the character of 18th century Italian composer Antonio Salieri, who sees his own musical talent as part of a transaction between himself and God.
Salieri is also a devoted admirer of the music of his contemporary, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. But when the ribald, mischievous Mozart continues to curry favor with the Austrian nobility and overshadows Salieri, the Italian composer vows to ruin the musical genius to essentially revenge himself upon God.
North Coast Rep’s take on the play casts Tony Amendola as Salieri; Amendola is known for playing Bra’tac on “Stargate SG-1” and “Geppetto” in Once Upon a Time. He is also no stranger to working on a San Diego stage, having performed at the Old Globe as well as the La Jolla Playhouse.
He was directly offered the role of Salieri, whom he calls “a man who operates with a system of justice.”
“It’s kind of a breaking bad story; this is a guy who did everything right, he studied, he had a certain amount of talent, he developed that talent, he worked very hard, he ascended in his profession and in life. And all of a sudden, (Mozart) shows up, who has none of the work traits,” but is instead naturally gifted.
Amendola says he also relates to the character’s striving for excellence and his conversation with God, and his struggle to accept that he lives in an unjust world. “It’s a play about betrayal by humans, but also a feeling of betrayal by a system that says if you are good, you will be rewarded.”
“I guess what I’m saying is that Salieri is a human figure of this, with all of its flaws, all of its ambiguities and all of its contradictions. And that, as an actor, interests me.”
Setting it apart from other productions of Amadeus, Salieri’s descent into jealousy and revenge will be a more intimate experience, due to North Coast Rep’s Solana Beach theater having space for only around 200 people.
Also starring in the production are Rafael Goldstein, a resident artist at A Noise Within Classical Repertory, as Mozart and Katherine Tkel, an MFA-trained actress making her debut with North Coast Rep, as Constanza Webert. Goldstein has played the title role in “Henry V” and Tkel acted in “Henry IV Part 1” for the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival.
Tickets for Amadeus are $49 for previews, $55 for weeknights and Saturday matinees, $60 for Saturday nights and Sunday matinees. Seniors, students, members of the military and teachers get $3 off their tickets, and rush tickets are available for $20. For more information on ticketing and the show, or to make a reservation, visit northcoastrep.org or call (858) 481-1055.
Photo Caption: ‘Amadeus’ stars Rafael Goldstein, left, as the title character and Tony Amendola as rival Salieri. Photo by Aaron Rumley