Front Row Reviewers

Oct 4, 2023 | Reviews

Regalo Theater Company’s Amadeus is an Autumnal Masterpiece 

Front Row Reviewers

Front Row Reviewers

Amadeus Regalo Theater Company

By Alayna Een

Regalo Theater Company’s Amadeus in Lehi, Utah, is the unexpected autumnal story that Front Row Reviewers and adult audiences will enjoy.

Fans of Hamilton will find a surprising resemblance in the story structures of that award-winning rap musical and this sensational straight play. Both stories follow former child prodigies, now brilliant adults with lascivious tendencies, on their paths to fame. Both tales are told by men who are threatened by the genius and prominence of the titular characters and who eventually shape the prodigies’ downfall. Both stories take artistic liberties on historic people and events to create compelling plays that address the themes of legacy and fame, talent and obscurity. But while Aaron Burr’s quarrel was always with Alexander Hamilton, Antonio Salieri’s is not with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart but with God. In coolly calculated strokes, Salieri spells out Mozart’s destruction while in the guise of a friend and peer in order to strike at the deity that granted Mozart his music.

Not a play commonly performed on the community level, Amadeus (by Peter Shaffer) might seem a strange choice for the Regalo Theater Company, especially in the autumnal prelude to “spooky season.” But hear me out: it has strong Halloween vibes. The opening and closing scenes feature a man summoning spirits from his deathbed. There are nightmare visions, an attempted suicide, a potential homicide, a mysterious death, and rumors caught on the wind. Salieri is a man slowly driven to become a monster through the mocking silence of an indifferent god. So although it seems unorthodox, I salute not only the choice of play but the excellent performance of it.

Director and set designer Michael Carrasco established the tone of the play with three elegant arches that form the physical set. I really liked how there is always a light fixture or a floral arrangement on either side of the central arch, but the type and grandeur varies based on the setting. The lavish and overflowing set contributes to the pristine feel of the palace, but the single flame and withered rose compellingly communicates the abject poverty of Mozart’s final apartment. Dramaturg Emma Rollins provides a robust resource to help audience members puzzle out what is fact and fiction in the play. The lordly costumes help transport the viewer to the right time period, thanks to Brooke Holahan (costumer).

Patrick Brannelly plays the antihero Antonio Salieri. I enjoyed the variety of his performance, with some moments—especially the opening soliloquy—transfixingly solemn, others cooly narrated, and still others aflame with passion. His interactions with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, played by the talented Morgan Gunter, have many different tones but are excellently done—by both sides. Gunter hits on the complexities of the character in his childish humor and childlike trust as well as in his desperation and desolation. The show’s main female lead is Mozart’s wife, Constanze Weber (Serene Parker). Parker matches Gunter’s energy in the silly scenes of their flirtatious love and brings painful gravity to other moments, beautifully demonstrating the difficulties of loving a living legend.  

The supporting cast and bit roles rounded out the world and deepened the emotional range of the play. Kassie Jensen and Cimony Carter (Venticelli) embody the rumors and frame the follies of Salieri by giving the public opinion sinister, synchronized voices with the synergy of a refined Flotsam and Jetsam. The counts and barons of the court (Stanley Johnson, Robert Bahr, Bryan Orr) add pomp drama with their pretension and disapproval. But the character who is consistently funny and delightfully fastidious is Andrew Mortensen’s Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor, who reminded me of the sauna-loving Oaken from Disney’s Frozen. There it is.

This play is an absolute masterpiece with compelling lines, humorous moments, and haunting questions and implications. Fans of the 1984 film will enjoy seeing it in a new light onstage and the story is compelling for newcomers as well. Regalo Theater Company gives this play the royal treatment with a talented cast, great setting and dressing, and compelling conclusion, not to mention the interactive classical music corner available in the lobby for audience members to put their ears and music skills to the test. 

Instances of marital infidelity, attempted suicide, and general malice make this play most appropriate for discerning adult audiences.

A Review by Front Row Reviewers
Regalo Theater Company presents Amadeus by Peter Shaffer
Skyridge High School, 3000 N Center St. Lehi, UT 84043
September 29, 30 October 2, 6, 7, 13, 14, 16, 2023 7:30 PM
Ticket: $15
Online Playbill

Front Row Reviewers

Front Row Reviewers


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