North Coast Rep’s new season to kick off with “Amadeus”

Rafael Goldstein is Mozart and Tony Amendola is Salieri in North Coast Rep's season-opening production "Amadeus."
(Aaron Rumley)

Rehearsals are underway for “Amadeus,” the North Coast Repertory Theatre’s 38th season-opening show that debuts Sept. 4.

“I always like to open the season with something that’s going to be a bit splashy,” said David Ellenstein, the theater’s artistic director.

“Amadeus,” by English playwright Peter Shaffer, is a fictionalized account of Mozart’s life, death and friendship with composer Antonio Salieri. Salieri, who is much older than Mozart, is jealous of his younger contemporary, and thinks Mozart is undeserving of his otherworldly talent due to his crass and ill-mannered behavior in social settings.

Ellenstein, who has been with the theater since 2003, said it has “the right blend of talent” to make that play sing.”

Artistic Director David Ellenstein has been with North Coast Rep since 2003.
(Aaron Rumley)

Salieri will be played by Tony Amendola, who recently appeared as Hercule Poirot in a production of “Murder on the Orient Express” at the La Mirada Theatre in Los Angeles. His film credits include “Mask of Zorrow” and “Annabelle.” Rafael Goldstein, a resident artist at A Noise Within Classical Repertory in Pasadena, will play Mozart. Previous roles include Tim Allgood in A Noise Within’s production of “Noises Off” and Tom Wingfield in “The Glass Menagerie.” The director, Richard Baird, has been involved in 23 productions at North Coast Rep.

Ellenstein said “Amadeus,” based on an 1830 short play titled “Mozart and Salieri” and first debuted in 1979, is typically performed in larger venues. But he said he’s looking forward to bringing it to North Coast Rep’s 194-seat venue.

The season has three shows that will be making their San Diego debuts: “Bloomsday,” premiering Jan. 8, 2020 about an older couple retracing their steps and reminiscing; “The Outsider,” a political satire opening in February, as primary season for the 2020 presidential election gets underway; and “Human Error,” a story of a conservative couple and a liberal couple whose lives intertwine due to the mistake of a fertility doctor.

The season rounds out with “The Sunshine Boys,” about a pair of former vaudevillian performers who reluctantly agree to reprise their act for a new TV special, which opens on Oct. 23 following “Amadeus,”; as well as “The Homecoming,” a Harold Pinter play about a man who returns to London to visit family after years living in the United States; and “Forbidden Broadway’s Greatest Hits,” which pays homage to theater’s past with parodies of classic productions like “Chicago” and “Phantom of the Opera,” debuting next year.

“I just think it’s a really interesting and diverse season,” said Ellenstein, adding that he’s already considering which shows to put in the 2020-21 season.

Before the curtains close on the theater’s 2018-19 season, its production of “Tenderly - The Rosemary Clooney Musical” is running through Aug. 25. The show, directed by Michael Marotta and featuring many of Clooney’s hit songs, stars Rachel Sorsa as the title character.

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