Amadeus at Meymandi: Powerful music transcends technical issues | Arts
Arts
INDY Week's arts blog

Archives | RSS | Follow on

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Amadeus at Meymandi: Powerful music transcends technical issues

Posted by on Sat, Dec 4, 2010 at 10:11 AM

Michael Urie (left) and Ray Dooley
  • Photo by Michael Zirkle/ NC Symphony
  • Michael Urie (left) and Ray Dooley
AMADEUS
Four stars
PlayMakers Rep and N.C. Symphony
@Meymandi Concert Hall
Through Dec. 5

There’s not a lot of scenery in the N.C. Symphony and PlayMakers Repertory Company’s take on Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus, but what’s there nearly upstages the drama. Presented with the entire symphony on stage, with the actors working on front (and occasionally behind) the musicians, the production pays brilliant tribute to the love of music at the heart of Shaffer’s characters, but technical problems at Friday night’s performance made the story at the heart of the music occasionally difficult to follow.

The presentation employs microphone headsets for the actors to help project to the wings of the 1,600-seat Meymandi Concert Hall, which in the first act suffered from slight distortion and low volume. Even those seated near the stage, where I sat, found it difficult to hear the dialogue—particularly problematic when a great amount of the production involves fast-paced, overlapping quips and characters speaking in multiple languages.

The production reprises the cast and direction from PRC’s production last year, with the notable exception of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, played by Michael Urie from television’s Ugly Betty (Urie is having a very good week: It’s also been announced he has a new TBS pilot and will take over the role of Prior Walter in the current Off Broadway production of Angels in America).

Urie brings a flamboyant comic energy to the role in the first half, but particularly shines in the second act when portraying Mozart’s increasing desperation. He’s well-matched by Ray Dooley, who reprises his role as Salieri. Dooley nicely plays up the self-righteous, unreliable narrator aspects of the “patron saint of mediocrities” while giving him a sympathetic, childlike joy at Mozart’s music.

And what music it is. Even though the play stops for long portions for the actors to sit on stage and react to the N.C. Symphony’s performance, director Joseph Haj (who also plays the Emperor), keeps the pace tight enough that it doesn’t feel as though the narrative simply serves as an intro to the music. Grant Llewellyn’s conducting gives the music its powerful due—you can feel the ominous power to the Requiem or the joy of The Marriage of Figaro.

By the second act, the dialogue problems were mostly fixed, and theatergoers enjoyed an evening of great drama and great music. If the Saturday and Sunday performances address these issues, then this will be one of the strongest theater productions in the Triangle this year. If those issues aren’t resolved, then … well, there’s still the wonderful music.

Tags: , , ,

Pin It

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Arts



Twitter Activity

Comments

I agree that the vocal work is incredible! And, I thought that the well-made and beautifully-designed set really supported the …

by Judy Dove on Theater Review: Dogfight's Regional Premiere at NRACT Is Rich in Emotion But Meager in Staging (Arts)

In the last 5 years, 11 of the 15 musicals NRACT produced were premieres in the region. I commend them …

by James Ilsley on Theater Review: Dogfight's Regional Premiere at NRACT Is Rich in Emotion But Meager in Staging (Arts)

Most Recent Comments

I agree that the vocal work is incredible! And, I thought that the well-made and beautifully-designed set really supported the …

by Judy Dove on Theater Review: Dogfight's Regional Premiere at NRACT Is Rich in Emotion But Meager in Staging (Arts)

In the last 5 years, 11 of the 15 musicals NRACT produced were premieres in the region. I commend them …

by James Ilsley on Theater Review: Dogfight's Regional Premiere at NRACT Is Rich in Emotion But Meager in Staging (Arts)

Instead of luxury apartments(AHEM Carborro) and new restaurants, build more parking?!(Just one parking garage would help a lot, cover it …

by ammi on The Bookshop Brought Many Rare and First Editions—and Two Famous Cats—to Franklin Street for Thirty-Two Years (Arts)

WELCOME TO THE GREAT BROTHERHOOD.
Do you want to be a member of Illuminati as a brotherhood that will make …

by peter bello on Movie Review: A Dog's Purpose Rolls Over and Plays Dead Under Its Own Heart-Tugging Weight (Arts)

The last thing Chapel Hill needs is another damn restaurant.

by Chrysser on The Bookshop Brought Many Rare and First Editions—and Two Famous Cats—to Franklin Street for Thirty-Two Years (Arts)

© 2017 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation