Michael Gibbons pops as the jealousy-poisoned Salieri. During Salieri’s appeals to the audience, his gaze pierces audience members individually, imploring them to understand, to take his side.
Salieri’s bane comes alive through David Mays, whose mannerisms as Mozart are delightfully weird. Mays has incredible energy as the bouncy, outrageous musical genius. Bonnie Frances Montgomery, as Mozart’s wife Constanze, meets Mays’s energy in kind, and the pair have good chemistry.
Adding to Mozart’s bizarre charm is his collection of gaudy dress coats, designed by Brenda Nelson. Each costume change brings a more outrageous upgrade, featuring brighter colors and louder embellishments. Though they may be less informative about the characters for whom they were designed, the costumes for the rest of the cast are well done also.
Rick Cheek’s set design is quite sparse, allowing scenes to be changed via a bit of furniture shifting. Scene changes are performed, in full view, by members of the cast. This adds to the sense of Salieri’s story being recreated for us by characters, rather than by cast members.
One of the most amusing performances comes from Harvey Mackie, as the Count Franz Orsini-Rosenberg. His comic facial expressions and tottering gait give him the air of someone who is perhaps a bit drunk, or perhaps a bit senile. Very funny.
The rest of the cast also shines in this enjoyable show. Shawn Hicks portrays Emperor Joseph II. Rounding out his royal court are Rick Cheek as Count Johan Kilian Von Strack, Rich Bailey as Baron Gottfried Van Swieten, and Doug Van Liew as Kapellmeister Bonno. Donna Mackie plays Mrs. Rosenberg. The four venticellis are played by Rachel Carter, Erin Hicks-Cheek, Anna Holloway and Crystal Sistine Huffman. The venticellis’ parts require tight ensemble timing that is not easy to master. The actors pull this off very nicely.
The show is directed by Deborah Draheim.
Amadeus runs through Oct. 7 at the Civic Center Music Hall’s Freede Little Theater. The Civic Center is located at 201 N. Walker in Oklahoma City.
Tickets may be purchased online or by calling 405-297-2264.