If you’re a Mozart aficionado, Peter Shaffer’s “Amadeus” (at the Maverick Theater in Fullerton through Mar. 23) is probably already on your agenda; if not, it should be. For those who aren’t fans, this behind-the-scenes portrait of the musical genius offers a superb mix of compelling drama and offbeat humor as Mozart interacts with his disapproving father Leopold, his wife Constanze, Emperor Joseph II, and his chief rival, the jealous Salieri.
The show benefits from Brian Newell’s attentive direction, despite a stage design that doesn’t always work to the play’s advantage. Joe Parrish, narrating the play as Old Salieri, brings a thoughtful interpretation to a complex and conflicted character. Nick McGee is a bit too broad for my tastes in depicting the comic side of Mozart, but conveys the tortured artist well.
Steven Sullivan (Young Salieri), Glenn Freeze (Joseph), Brian Page (Leopold), Ingrid Garner (a pupil of Salieri’s) and Phil Brickey (a count) deliver distinctive performances. Heidi Newell’s costumes are nice, but the wigs (uncredited) don’t quite measure up. Coming this summer: “The Sting” (May 31-Jul. 13). Call 714-526-7070.
“Anton’s Uncles,” Theatre Movement Bazaar's inspired riff on “Uncle Vanya,” was one of the highlights of last year’s Studio SCR series at South Coast Repertory. TMB is back at SCR Feb. 21-24 with “Track 3,” an adaptation of Chekhov’s “Three Sisters,” and it’s a must-see on my list.
The characters are “on the modern hero’s journey,” according to the show’s co-creators, Tina Kronis and Richard Alger. “Movement, dance, song and humor derail the play from its Victorian origins and set the itinerary for a 21st century existential extravaganza.” Call 714-708-5555.
If you missed last week’s Studio SCR offering, Rogue Artists’ wild multi-media piece, “Songs of Bilitis,” I recommend you catch it at the Bootleg Theater in L.A. Mar. 7-30. This highly erotic, Felliniesque odyssey isn’t for everyone, but anyone who loves innovative theatre would be foolish to pass it up. Visit www.rogueartists.org.
And if you missed Studio SCR’s late-night “Scramble” last weekend, you’ll just have to wait for the next one, whenever that might be. El Verde’s hilarious “Night of the Kukaracha,” Actor Circle Ensemble’s riveting “The Experiment,” Ten West’s hysterically funny “Ineffable” and other pieces massaged my brain and my funnybone well past bedtime.
Hot tip: It’s closing week for “Serpentine Pink” by Megan Breen at Son of Semele’s Company Creation Festival in Los Angeles. Breen’s latest journey into weirdness involves a biker, her trailer trash lover, a psychic and her Shaman companion. For info: http://www.sonofsemele.org.
More from Jordan:
Hwang’s ‘Chinglish’ rocks SCR, ‘Mermaid’ dances into Segerstrom www.examiner.com/article/hwang-s-chinglish-rocks-scr-mermaid-dances-into...
Academy Award Losers, 1912-1939: Great Performances in the Oscar Hall of Shame, Vol. 1 http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ARTJGOA
The art and craft of acting solo
The ultimate Carol Burnett DVD set, overdue bio of comedian Ed Wynn http://exm.nr/NQ3DQq
‘Car 54, Where Are You?’ rides again, TV reference book in 2nd ed. http://shar.es/2s2T7
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