What I learned. . .

I think it's Salieri's play -- at least in that we experience the story through his ravaged mind; so the designers and I talked about providing a darkened space which Mozart would shatter and across which he could (in something approximating Shaffer's own words), "blaze like a comet."  I learned that the play has as great an impact today as it did when it was first performed; the joy of being in the room with all of that music was indescribable. . . and humbling.  It also helps to have excellent actors who are accomplished musicians.  Jim (Poulos - Mozart) accompanied himself live on the pianoforte; Elizabeth (Stanley) and Laura (Griffith) are both classically trained singers and knew exactly how to hit Constanze's "silent scream" in the Requiem every single time.

Simultaneously, Andrew Long (the Rep) and Brent Harris (Geva) learned to pace themselves like marathon runners as they tackled the role of Salieri, Mozart’s mentor-nemesis.


Repertory Theatre of St. Louis

September, 2009

Jim Poulos, Elizabeth Stanley

“. . .  a polished production, authoritatively staged by Paul Mason Barnes that makes the strongest possible case for what in retrospect now looks like one of the best plays of the ‘70s.”  “. . .  Mr. Barnes’s staging. . .  emphasizes the comic aspect of Amadeus without lapsing into gross caricature. . .”  “Mr. Barnes and Bill Clarke, his scenic designer, have made immensely resourceful use of the thrust stage of the 763-seat theater that the St. Louis Rep shares with Opera Theatre of St. Louis.”  “This is just the kind of show I have in mind when I assure disbelieving Manhattanites that it’s not merely possible but easy to see high-quality theater in every corner of America, flyover country very much included.”

    Terry Teachout

    The Wall Street Journal

“. . .  a lush production. . .  abounds with dramatic pleasure. “  “Barnes – who directed two of the best shows the Rep ever staged, Saint Joan and Stones in His Pockets – has an uncanny knack for making the Rep stage seem even bigger than it is.”

    Judith Newmark

    The St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“I have seen very few performances at The Rep that are more potent and affecting.  The Rep’s Amadeus will leave you totally imbued with the unfailing recognition that you have just witnessed one of their finest productions of the last 43 years.”

    Harry Hamm


“Stunning direction by Paul Mason Barnes.  This production has more going for it than anything you may have seen on a St. Louis stage in quite some time.”

    Steve Allen


“The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis has opened its 2009-10 Mainstage season with a stunning presentation. . .”  “Under Paul Mason Barnes’ precise and thorough direction, The Rep’s production is a cunning and crackling concoction that balances intellectual stimulation with loft artistic achievement.  Barnes’ notable interpretation of Shaffer’s masterpiece is a glorious beginning to a new theatrical season and a sumptuous feast for the heart, mind, and soul.”

    Mark Bretz

    The Ladue News

“Exciting; powerful. Amadeus offers a splendidly entertaining evening at the Rep, and Shaffer’s powerful tragedy comes across in exciting style.”

    Joe Pollack

    St. Louis Eats and Drinks

“Lively and polished.  The success of the evening is in the hands of director Paul Mason Barnes.  [He] conducts this intricate score with meticulous attention to detail.”

    Robert Boyd

    Talkin’ Broadway

“The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis is a brilliant work that cuts across all genres to provide something wholly unique.  Buoyed by an excellent cast and stellar direction, this production is one of the early must-see events of the season.”  “Director Paul Mason Barnes keeps the actors and the action focused and well-paced. . .  never less than riveting and compelling.” “. . . completely engaging and enthralling. . .”

    Chris Gibson

    Broadway World

“Director Paul Mason Barnes . . .  has paced the piece with a sense of flow.  He uses his ensemble well.”  “On opening night the audience responded to this rococo account of jealousy, temptation and betrayal with wild enthusiasm.”

    Dennis Brown

    The Riverfront Times

“Haunting, elegant, just the slightest bit discomfiting. . . “  “Terrifically staged and acted. . .”  

    Andrea Braun

    The Vital Voice