Doyle has had remarkable success with his actor-musician chamber piece versions of well-known musicals, including Gondoliers, Mack and Mabel and, most notably, his revival of Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd, which won two of last year’s Whatsonstage.com Theatregoers’ Choice Awards for its West End run and two of this year’s Tony Awards (Best Direction of a Musical and Best Orchestrations) for its Broadway transfer (See News, 12 Jun 2006).
Set in 18th-century Vienna, Amadeus explores the relationship between the obsessive Austrian Court composer Antonio Salieri (Kelly) and his meteoric young rival Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
Amadeus returns Kelly to the London stage for the first time since his 2003 turn as gentle giant Lennie (pictured) in the Birmingham Rep production of Jonathan Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men which transferred to the West End and won him the 2004 Best Actor Olivier. Currently appearing in Ranjit Bolt’s new translation of Carlo Goldoni’s 18th-century Italian comedy Mirandolina at the Royal Exchange Manchester (See News, 22 Jun 2006), Kelly’s other stage credits include Twelfth Night, Season’s Greetings, The Taming of the Shrew, Kafka’s Dick, Blue Remembered Hills and Peter Pan.
Amadeus premiered at the National Theatre in 1979, in a production starring Simon Callow and Paul Scofield, as Mozart and Salieri respectively, and directed by Peter Hall, which subsequently transferred to Broadway with Tim Curry and Ian McKellen. In 1998, Hall revived the piece at the Old Vic, with Michael Sheen and David Suchet, ahead of another transatlantic transfer. Milos Forman’s Oscar-winning 1984 film version starred Tom Hulse and F Murray Abraham.
In Doyle’s new stage production, Kelly is joined in the ensemble cast of actor-musicians by Jonathan Broadbent as Mozart and Jess Murphy as Constanze as well as Eamonn O’Dwyer, Sebastian Bates, Sam Kenyon, Philip Battley, Harry Napier, Michael Howcroft, Susannah Van Den Berg, Elisa Boyd, Sioned Saunders, Michael George Moore, Benedict James and Juliet Leighton-Jones.
Built by pub owner John Wilton in 1858, Wilton's is the world's oldest surviving extant music hall, built on the back of a pub. It was closed in the 1880s and later became a Methodist church and then a rag warehouse. Once condemned, it was saved by the intervention of Sir Laurence Olivier, Peter Sellers and Sir John Betjeman. It now plays host to a select number of theatrical and musical events each year.
Amadeus is both directed and designed by John Doyle, with lighting by Ace McCarron and musical arrangements and supervision by Catherine Jayes. It’s produced by Adam Spiegel, whose production of The Mysteries began life at Wilton’s Music Hall in June 2001 before transferring to the West End and touring nationally and internationally.
- by Terri Paddock