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Walt Whitman High School Amadeus

By • Mar 8th, 2010 • Category: Cappies

Twenty five cast members are decked out in costumes and wigs emulating the residents of Vienna in the late 1700s while bringing to life one of the greatest rivalries of all time. The story of Amadeus Mozart and his lesser know rival Antonio Salieri is about to be told elaborately on the Walt Whitman High School stage.

The play was written in 1979 by Peter Shaffer and was loosely based on the lives of Mozart and Salieri. Amadeus was inspired by a short play called Mozart and Salieri and later adapted into an opera by the same name. It was made into an Oscar winning movie in 1984. The play first premiered at the Royal London Theater in 1979 and later premiered on Broadway in 1981. It was nominated for 7 Tony awards and it won 5.

The Whitman production looked and sounded terrific, transporting the audience back in time and allowing them to truly experience the unique genius of Mozart and the obsessive nature of Salieri’s interest in him. The scenes were presented as flashbacks with freeze frames that allowed the audience to intimately understand Salieri’s memories.

The leads were all exceptional in their roles. Mozart, played by Sammy Zeisel delivered a hyper manic energy as well as a convincing physical performance. His high pitch laugh was unique and will not be forgotten. Salieri, played by Noah Gavil was also convincing with his affectations and tone of voice. His monologues were long yet full of passion, never breaking character or losing intensity. Constanze, played by Sarah Blush contrasted the two men by giving a softer less driven character.

The supportive cast was also on point and always in character. They all worked together to truly represent the people of the late 1700s. Notable performances include Count Rosenberg (Andre Dahreddine) with his mastery of a realistic Italian accent, Baron (Luis Alvarado) with his Austrian accent and Katharina (Grace Laboy) whose vocals were amazingly beautiful with strong operatic abilities hitting all the high notes.

Technically the show went off with few problems other than an occasional microphone with feedback. The sets were elaborate and realistic for the time period. Costumes and hair were immaculate and well designed. The men and women wore wigs and decadent period costumes. The lighting was done to set the right mood while never overtaking the stage. The orchestra never missed a note and played at optimal moments, never overpowering the performers.

Simply put, Walt Whitman High School has created a masterpiece with their current production of Amadeus.

by Ariana Nasseri of Winston Churchill HS

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