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Do not let the title mislead you. This is not Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s story. Antonio Salieri is the star of this fable.

Beginning with the theme of an unsolved mystery, the Old Globe Theatre’s nearly faultless, brilliantly directed production of Peter Shaffer’s mis-dubbed play follows a carefully crafted path through the life of an anti-hero. More precisely, Salieri is a trickster figure. In the tradition of the mythologist, Joseph Campbell, Salieri engineers the mishaps, mistakes and missed opportunities that plagued his rival. And, in that same tradition, the trickster tricks himself.

Opening in retrospective, the play begins with a Greek-style chorus of Vienna townsfolk calling for an end to the question of Mozart’s premature death. A septuagenarian Salieri cries out for forgiveness. But this is not a CSI prequel. The initial indications are not necessarily foregone conclusions.

Despite the deal with God that gains him a composer’s status, the end of Salieri’s life is an hour away, and the story that encompasses the decades between the promise and the purpose is just beginning its revelation on the Old Globe Festival stage.

Cut to a 31-year-old Salieri, musician for the court of Joseph II, Emperor of Austria. A young upstart comes to court, and Salieri composes a little march to welcome him. Mozart gallops in, stepping to the beat, and accepts the courtly praise. Once alone, the forever rivals show their divergent talents. Mozart reconstructs Salieri’s piece from memory, adds a few notes and improvises a few bars to create what will become a phrase for his opera, “The Marriage of Figaro.” Salieri knows he has met his match, and that the lifelong dual for fame has begun. Mozart is, and mostly will remain, clueless about the relationship that defines the course of music and its arrangement in European culture.

Salieri declares war on God and his chosen musical protégé, and the deceptions, traps, and mischief his declaration portends begin in delightful, heady and piquant earnest. How the master trickster manipulates not only his rival but also the entire court and community is the stuff of which this story is made.

Miles Anderson as Antonio Salieri is the supreme maker, creating the persona from the inside and manifesting him in tone, countenance and movement. Anderson uses his face and body to become the personality of his character, but even he cannot evince a 40-year difference in stage age. Some inventive make-up would bridge that gap of disbelief and allow the story to flow, sans demanding supposition.

Jay Whittaker’s Mozart delights, wails, pains and throbs in excruciating and exciting detail. He giggles, shrieks, cavorts, cries, and then dies, with empathic precision. Winslow Corbett deserves accolades for her scrupulous portrayal of his astute and doting wife, Constanze Weber.

Under the sagacious direction of Shakespeare Festival Director Adrian Noble, the entire cast is superb, with Anthony Cochrane as Count Orsini-Rosenberg, Donald Carrier as Joseph II, Michael Stewart Allen as Baron Van Swieten, and Charles Janasz as Count Von Strack establishing the atmosphere of political and invidious intrigue. The court, the trickster and the consequences propel with the breezy movement and satirical commentary of the Two Venticelle (little winds) cleverly wafted by Georgia Hatzis and Ryman Sneed, both in pointy-nosed visage and demeanor.

An adept supplementary cast drawn from stellar students in The Old Globe and University of San Diego Graduate Theatre Program boosts both the narrative and the action.

There is both story and substance in this play, and the twists and turns defy prediction. It is not a tale told by an idiot, however, but one related by a master manipulator. Salieri, the trickster, wins a wager with the almighty, but his fame is fleeting and flimsy. When the memories of centuries are called, the name that first advances is… Amadeus.

 Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus plays on San Diego’s Old Globe Theatre Festival Stage in repertory through September 22.Performances are at 8:00 pm on the outdoor stage until early September, when some curtain times are at 7:00 pm.For specific dates and reservations:  (619) 23-GLOBE or online at













Laguna Playhouse Announces Ellen Richard as its Interim Executive Director

May 3, 2016…Laguna Beach, Calif…Laguna Playhouse Board of Directors announced today that, later this month, Ellen Richard will be joining Laguna Playhouse as its Interim Executive Director. The Playhouse announced late last year that it was undertaking a national search guided by Arts Consulting Group (ACG) for an Executive Director to succeed Karen Wood who had held this position for the past eight years.

Commenting on the appointment Joe Hanauer and Paul Singarella, Co-Chairmens of the Board of Directors, said “In the midst of our search we encountered this wonderful opportunity to engage Ellen while we continue to seek appropriate long-term leadership. To have found someone with the extraordinary qualifications that Ellen has is thrilling. She is the recipient of six Tony Awards as producer at New York’s Roundabout Theatre Company where she was Managing Director. Ellen also has strong successes in supervising the construction of theatres in New York and also in San Francisco at the American Conservatory Theater, a rare and valuable skill set considering the contemplated major remodel and expansion of the Laguna Playhouse.” Laguna Playhouse Artistic Director Ann E. Wareham adds, “We are pleased and proud to have Ellen Richard, truly a rock-star in our field, join us as our interim Executive Director who will help guide the Playhouse during this transition.” Comments Ellen Richard, “I have quickly grown fond of Laguna Beach and the Playhouse. I embrace this extraordinary opportunity to join one of the country’s top regional theatres at this time in its remarkable 95-year history. I look forward to helping the Playhouse and working with their incredible Board of Trustees and Ann E. Wareham.”


Ellen Richard served as Executive Director of the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco from 2010 through 2015.  During her tenure, Ms. Richard negotiated a deal to buy the Strand Theater in tech corridor of Mid-Market San Francisco, helped raise the $34,000 million to renovate and operate it and steered the design and construction for the project which opened in May of 2015. The complex featured two performance spaces and has won multiple awards.  She opened the 50 seat Costume Shop Theater, a 49-seat “black box” venue used for the company’s Master of Fine Arts students and for shows by other local companies.  Ms. Richard was also credited with expanding the company’s educational efforts, coming up with programs like the San Francisco Semester, which brings undergraduate acting students to ACT from around the world, and Stage Coach, a community theater mobile unit that reaches into diverse neighborhoods

She was also Executive Director of The Second Stage Theatre in New York City. During her tenure at Second Stage, which began in 2006 (through 2009), she was responsible for the purchase contract of the Helen Hayes Theatre, growth in subscription income of 48 percent, and growth in individual giving of 75 percent, as well as conceptualization of a highly successful gala format and “Second Generation,” a giving program through which donors enable deserving New York City youth to experience live theater. Under Ms. Richard’s leadership, Second Stage provided the initial home for the Broadway productions Everyday Rapture, Next to Normal, and The Little Dog Laughed.

From 1983 to 2005, Ms. Richard enjoyed a rich and varied career with Roundabout Theatre Company. The Roundabout that Ms. Richard joined was a small nonprofit theater company in bankruptcy. By the time she departed as Managing Director, Roundabout had become one of the country’s largest and most successful theater companies of its kind, with net assets in excess of $67 million dollars. Ms. Richard is the recipient of six Tony Awards as producer, for Roundabout productions of Cabaret (1998), A View from the Bridge (1998), Side Man (1999), Nine (2003), Assassins (2004), and Glengarry Glen Ross (2005). As producer of more than 125 shows at Roundabout, she had direct supervision of all management and marketing functions. She created Roundabout’s “Theatre-PLUS” programs, which include singles, teachers, family, gay and lesbian, wine tasting, and the 7 p.m. “Early Curtain” series, all of which grew to represent more than 10 percent of Roundabout’s 40,000 subscribers.

As director of design and construction at Roundabout, Ms. Richard was responsible for more than $50 million of theater construction for 11 projects. She conceptualized the three permanent Roundabout stages — The Broadway venues of Studio 54 and the American Airlines Theatre, and the Off-Broadway venue The Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre She directed the location search for Cabaret and oversaw the creation of the production’s environmental Kit Kat Klub. Prior to her tenure at Roundabout, Ms. Richard served as business manager of Westport Country Playhouse, theater manager for Stamford Center for the Arts, and business manager for Atlas Scenic Studio. She began her career working as a stagehand, sound designer, and scenic artist assistant.