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Final Performances: Tony Award-Winning AMADEUS!

January 12, 2011

Philadelphia, PA: Walnut Street Theatre continues its landmark 202nd season with an all-new production of Peter Shaffer's AMADEUS, winner of the 1981 Tony Award for Best Play and 1985 Academy Award for Best Picture. Directed by Malcolm Black, AMADEUS begins previews on January 18th, opens on January 26th and runs through March 6th on the WST Mainstage.

Inspired by Alexander Pushkin's 1830 poem "Mozart and Salieri," Peter Shaffer's AMADEUS depicts the legendary tale of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, a youthful, arrogant composer in eighteenth century Vienna, and his encounters with Antonio Salieri, the Viennese court composer who has pledged his life's work to God. Salieri becomes consumed with envy and haunted by the music of a "spiteful, sniggering, conceited, infantine Mozart." He believes that God has abandoned him and chosen Mozart to be His muse on earth. Salieri is convinced he must destroy Mozart. Though rooted in Pushkin's work, which was pure fiction, AMADEUS weaves together the base truths of jealousy and obsession into a dramatic confrontation between mediocrity and genius.

Peter Shaffer's AMADEUS was first produced by the National Theatre of Great Britain in London and ran from November 1979 to October 1983 for a total of 1183 performances. In 1981, it won the Tony Award for Best Play and the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding New Play. Mr. Shaffer's other awards and nominations include the 1975 Tony Award for Best Play and the 1975 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding New Play for Equus; a nomination for the 1967 Tony Award for Best Play for Black Comedy/White Lies; and a nomination for the 1990 Tony Award for Best Play for Lettice and Lovage.

In 1984, Peter Shaffer adapted the original AMADEUS play for the film, which won several Academy Awards. In 1998, Shaffer revised his work yet again for a revival run on Broadway, and the Walnut Street Theatre will be producing Peter Shaffer's latest revision.

At the helm of this production is Director Malcolm Black. This marks the 26th year he has directed at the Walnut. He has had enormous success with Three Tall Women, A Streetcar Named Desire, Philadelphia Here I Come, Finian's Rainbow and The Constant Wife (co-production with Coconut Grove Playhouse, Carbonell Award-winner in Florida). Malcolm was Artistic Director of the Vancouver Playhouse, Theatre New Brunswick and Theatre Plus in Toronto. He also guest directed at many of the major theatres in Canada and the United States, including the Alliance Theatre (Atlanta), the St. Lawrence (Toronto), Manitoba Theatre Centre (Winnipeg) and Pasadena Playhouse (Pasadena).

Creating the regal world of the late 1700s is Scenic and Lighting Designer Paul Wonsek (Fallen Angels, A Streetcar Named Desire), who has been designing in New York, regional theaters and television for 30 years, including 12 seasons as the Art Director and Production Manager at The Muny in St. Louis. Joining him to recreate the stylish period is Costume Designer Colleen Grady (White Christmas, Fiddler on the Roof). Sound Designer Christopher Colucci (The Eclectic Society, Born Yesterday) underscores the drama with recordings of the music that inspired and gave genius flight.

AMADEUS' large cast of 23 actors is an exciting group of Walnut favorites and talented actors from the Philadelphia area. Dan Olmstead (Salieri) is a Temple MFA graduate and has been see at the Walnut in Fallen Angels, A Streetcar Named Desire, Enchanted April, Of Mice and Men and more. Rob McClure (Mozart) returns to the Walnut following his performance as Charlie Chaplin at the La Jolla Playhouse in the new musical, Limelight. McClure has been seen on Broadway in Avenue Q and I'm Not Rappaport and here at the Walnut in The Producers and Oliver! Mozart's wife Costanza will be played by Ellie Mooney, last seen at the Walnut in Forbidden Broadway's Greatest Hits and Beauty and the Beast.

AMADEUS runs at the Walnut January 18 through March 6. This production is sponsored by Stradley Ronon. Media Sponsors are B101, NBC 10 and the Philadelphia Inquirer. For tickets and information, call 215-574-3550 or 800-982-2787. Tickets are also available online 24/7 by visiting or Ticketmaster.