The Douglass Theatre’s stature in Macon’s entertainment constellation just keeps growing. I hope readers saw the recent letter to the editor praising the Macon Film Guild’s screenings of “A Man Called Ove.” Coming up is another popular offering at the historic theater, the frequent National Theatre Live broadcasts from Great Britain’s National Theatre on the banks of London’s River Thames.
Up next in the NT series is “Amadeus,” a revival of Peter Shaffer’s 1979 hit depicting Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s short but incredibly prolific career. The work, which received both Olivier and Tony Awards when it premiered, later transferred to Broadway and was subsequently made into an Academy Award-winning motion picture.
This hit was revived at the NT in 2016 and is still running at the Olivier Theatre, one of three stages at the NT. The current production stars Adam Gillen as the young genius Mozart. In this capacity, he also gets to conduct the Southbank Sinfonia. Playing opposite to him is Lucian Msamati as the rival composer Antonio Salieri.
Shaffer’s award-winning script is purportedly based on the life of Mozart after his move to Vienna and his rivalry with Salieri. Since Mozart has been dead for more than 225 years, we may never know the absolute truth about the relationship between the two.
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Now that this play is back on the stage where it all started, the truth of Shaffer’s vision is once again a hot topic. Was Salieri as jealous as Shaffer paints him? One thing is certain, the relationship between the two men made for dynamite theater back in 1979, and the emotional cauldron remains at the boiling point today.
In the play, at least, the successful Salieri is suddenly forced by the arrival of the boisterous genius Mozart to confront his own mediocrity and to ask the painful question: Where is God in all this?
One thing is certain: The London press loves this latest iteration of Shaffer’s hit. The production also offers up some immensely powerful music and a handsome snapshot of the 18th century. Best of all, it will be broadcast at the Douglass on Sunday.
NT Live: “Amadeus”
When: 3 p.m. Feb. 5
Where: Douglass Theatre, 355 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd
Cost: $20; $15 students and seniors