October 2018

Amadeus: The Arts Center’s Thrilling, Award-Winning Season Opener

Author: Andrea Gannon | Photographer: TR Media World

The twenty-third theatre season of the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina kicks off with the Tony Award-winning Amadeus, the audience’s number one selection for a play, and runs October 2-21.

Set in the opulence of eighteenth-century Vienna, Amadeus transports us to a world of two musicians. Antonio Salieri (played by Jonathan Holtzman, Arts Center’s Pride and Prejudice, Sherlock Holmes), is the most famous composer in a city of musicians, or rather, that is, until a young Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart arrives on the scene.

The role of the youthful and wildly talented (emphasis on “wild”) Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is being played by Andrew Youngerman, who is making his Arts Center debut.

Salieri becomes jealous of Mozart’s gifted musical talent and plots to destroy him. In true frenemy fashion, Salieri becomes chummy with Mozart, pretending to help him, but all the time plotting to keep Mozart only in his shadow.

Behind the scenes, Salieri cannot believe that ‘God has given Mozart these skills,’ and not him, and thus plots against Mozart. He had made a contract with God that he would live a virtuous life if, in return, God would give him the musical talent to be a truly great and famous musician. After Salieri’s efforts at righteousness, he wonders how God could have given Mozart—this young upstart with little respect for his elders or for the accepted moral conventions of his time—a talent that far outshines his own.

Since God had not kept his end of the bargain, Salieri decided that he would renounce virtue and instead employ more malevolent ways to ensure that Mozart would not be recognized as a great composer. What makes this task heartbreaking for Salieri is his own love of music, and the fact that in destroying Mozart, he realizes he is destroying a true musical genius.

Thus, Amadeus brings to the foreground the role of genius in this world. What makes it? What happens to it? How do we treat it? How do we feel about it?

Russell Treyz, at the directorial helm of the show, said, “The stage symbolically resembles a boxing ring on which the proper, star musician of the Imperial Austrian court dukes it out with his unsuspecting enemy, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, to gain supremacy. The play somewhat has the form of classical music. Dialogue blends into sounds—and the rumblings of the crowd become a sonic environment and palpable force in the forward movement of the play. We live with the hero/villain, Salieri, and feel his joys and jealousies of competing against an inspired master of our chosen worlds.

“The playwright, Peter Shaffer, challenges us to look at ourselves and the work of our lives and question our place in the world, our purpose, and our responses. He brings us scenes of great hilarity, high drama, and the fascinating emotional blend of music and dialogue.”

A thrilling journey of music, jealously, even some humor … and power! Tickets for preview performances, October 2-4, are $40 for adults and $27 for children ages 5-15. Regular performances, October 5-21, are $50 for adults and $37 for children ages 5-15. To purchase, visit artshhi.com or call (843) 842-ARTS (2787).

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