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At The Public

February 13, 2008 - Phyllis Sigal
Live theater is one of my favorite forms of entertainment. I still remember seeing Gloria Swanson on Broadway oh-so-many years ago; I think I may have been in junior high. The play was "Butterflies Are Free" — my first Broadway play.

Over the years I've seen many more, — on Broadway, off Broadway, in London, in Pittsburgh, as well as many, many community and high school productions.

I had the recent pleasure of seeing "Amadeus" presented by the Pittsburgh Public Theater in Pittsburgh's Cultural District. This performance had a lot to live up to; I saw the same play on Broadway in the early 1980s, featuring Ian McKellen as Antonio Salieri and Tim Curry as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. But that was a long time ago. I remember thinking it was probably the best thing I'd ever seen on stage.

The Public's production, directed by Ted Pappas, was very good. Maybe the actors weren't as good as McKellen and Curry, but those are tough acts to follow.

Pappas, producing artistic director, takes chances. From the productions I've seen, he doesn't give us the same old, same old. He makes them his own. He has staged 26 productions with the Public.

Says Pappas about the play, “This is a gorgeous play, packed with intrigue and drenched with the world’s greatest music. I like big shows, and it doesn’t get much bigger than this.”

The play deals with Salieri's obsession with Mozart's talent. Salieri is jealous to the point of making it his life's goal to destroy Mozart. Both characters are strong, and very interesting.

"Amadeus" is at the O'Reilly Theater through Feb. 24.

Coming next is "A Number," followed by "Rabbit Hole" and "The Odd Couple."


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