PTPA presents ‘Amadeus’at Hazleton’s Ferrara Center

Musical showcases rivalry between composers Mozart, Salieri

By Mary Therese Biebel [email protected]

			
				                                Antonio Salieri (John Schugard) at left, shares his disgust with the audience as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Tim Solarek) fawns over Emperor Joseph II (Bill Amos) in the PTPA production of ‘Amadeus,’ which runs through Feb. 23 at the JJ Ferrara Center in Hazleton. Watching the display of affection are Count Johann von Strack (James Fanjoy), Count Franz Orsini-Rosenberg (Dave Zimmerman), and Baron Gottfried van Swieten (Matt Bubel).
                                 Submitted photo

Antonio Salieri (John Schugard) at left, shares his disgust with the audience as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Tim Solarek) fawns over Emperor Joseph II (Bill Amos) in the PTPA production of ‘Amadeus,’ which runs through Feb. 23 at the JJ Ferrara Center in Hazleton. Watching the display of affection are Count Johann von Strack (James Fanjoy), Count Franz Orsini-Rosenberg (Dave Zimmerman), and Baron Gottfried van Swieten (Matt Bubel).

Submitted photo

<p>Mozart (Tim Solarek) introduces his fiancee Constanze Weber (Joyce Vandermark) to Salieri (John Schugard).</p>
                                 <p>Submitted photo</p>

Mozart (Tim Solarek) introduces his fiancee Constanze Weber (Joyce Vandermark) to Salieri (John Schugard).

Submitted photo

<p>The music in the PTPA production of ‘Amadeus’ comes from a recording, but Tim Solarek, seated at the piano, as Mozart, has rehearsed how to move his hands over the the keyboard and has researched various musical terms that come up in the script. Shown from left are cast members Tim Solarek, John Schugard, Bill Amos, James Fanjoy, Dave Zimmerman and Matt Bubel.</p>
                                 <p>Submitted photo</p>

The music in the PTPA production of ‘Amadeus’ comes from a recording, but Tim Solarek, seated at the piano, as Mozart, has rehearsed how to move his hands over the the keyboard and has researched various musical terms that come up in the script. Shown from left are cast members Tim Solarek, John Schugard, Bill Amos, James Fanjoy, Dave Zimmerman and Matt Bubel.

Submitted photo

IF YOU GO

What: Amadeus

Who: Pennsylvania Theatre of Performing Arts

Where: J.J. Ferrara Center, 212 West Broad St., Hazleton

When: 7 p.m Fridays and 3 p.m. Sundays, through Feb. 23

Dinner: Available second weekend only, Feb. 21-Feb. 23

Tickets: $20 for adults, $18 for students and seniors and $10 for children for show only. $35, $32 and $20 for dinner and show. Dinner is served 90 minutes before show time.

Info: 570-454-5451

If you’re looking for a love story this Valentine’s Day weekend, you might consider “Amadeus.”

The stage play is set in the 18th-century Viennese court, where everybody loves music, and where the fantastically talented Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart loves his sweetheart Constanze.

And where a much-less-talented composer, Antonio Salieri, loves God — until he feels the Lord has let him down.

“He acts like a jealous lover, like God has jilted him in some way,” said John Schugard, of Mountain Top, who portrays Salieri in the Pennsylvania Theatre of Performing Arts production of “Amadeus,” which opens tonight Feb. 14 and continues through Feb. 23 at the JJ Ferrara Center in Hazleton.

“He thought if he worshipped God and was a good person things would go his way,” director Adam Randis said.

But while Salieri worked hard and tried to live a virtuous life, the musical talent he craved went not to him but to a rather irreverent and immature, sometimes vulgar newcomer to the emperor’s court — Mozart.

“He’s like a big kid. He’s 26 but acts more like an 8 to 10-year-old would act, with lots of manic energy,” said Tim Solarek, of Freeland, who portrays Mozart.

“Some people would say he’s a little obnoxious and arrogant,” Solarek said of his character. “While Mozart’s a genius and a great composer he acts like a petulant child. From Salieri’s standpoint, it’s ‘why give this beautiful gift of composing to such a little brat?’ “

“Seeing how transcendent Mozart is pushes him (Salieri) over the edge,” Randis said.

So, the once-virtuous Salieri sets about trying to destroy the man he perceives as his musical rival, with Mozart none the wiser.

“Mozart has an affinity toward Salieri,” Solarek said. “He believes he’s his friend. Mozart isn’t the type to be suspicious. The plot and story line show the innocence of Mozart and his ignorance as to how people can actually betray you.”

While Salieri plots away, audiences can enjoy not only the suspense of the fictionalized story but Mozart’s antics at court, the period costumes and, of course the music.

“The music plays very prominently in terms of establishing the psychological mood of the characters,” Randis, the director, said. “You hear music being played as Salieri is remembering performances and when he’s looking at music sheets. He’s one of the few people who truly recognize Mozart’s genius.”

Audiences may also admire Mozart’s character not only for his talent but for his independence.

“Mozart is doing his own thing,” said Bill Amos, of Mountain Top, who portrays Emperor Joseph II.

“Some people are begging him, trying to force him to be conventional,” Solarek said. “But he stays true to himself.”