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(left to right) Nick Mauldin plays Mozart and Joseph Blanchard plays a jealous Antonio Salieri in Amadeus at Stageworks Theatre.

Image: Nick Mauldin

The traditionally eccentric production of Amadeus hit an even more avant-garde note this weekend at Stageworks Theatre thanks to a cast sporting Victorian-meets-steampunk costumes like constricted corsets, shredded skinny jeans and lace-up leather pants. You know—traditional 19th-century stuff.

Joseph Blanchard plays Antonio Salieri, the famed Italian composer and narrator of the musical. Salieri performs many soliloquies ending with him addressing the audience Frank Underwood-style and breaking the theatrical "fourth wall" with humor and jealousy. But who could blame him after working in the shadow of Mozart? Especially since the composer, played by Nick Mauldin, looks like he should be performing at rock concerts rather than Opera houses. But with his eccentric outfits and groundbreaking scores, Mozart is vastly more rememberable than his colleagues (much to Salieri's chagrin.)

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Mozart (Mauldin) and Salieri (Blanchard) have a lively discourse that is anything but harmonious. 

As the plot deepens, larger themes about music and God develop. The disposition between Salieri and Mozart becomes polarized, with the two composers remaining at odds for the rest of their lives. (Unbeknownst to Mozart, who regarded Salieri as a friend.)

The drama is filled with scandal, shouting, dancing, and even crawling on the floor, making for so many entertaining scenes that audiences won’t know where to look. At Salieri, who is speaking to you? At Mozart, who is crawling on top of his beloved? At their mistresses making faces at the men? At the random Emperor perched loftily atop a tower of plywood boxes? Or back to Mozart, as he jumps on said boxes with grand swooping arms and extra panache?

Our bet is on Mozart.

Thru June 26. Friday-Saturday at 7:30 pm and Sunday at 3 pm. $15-$23. Garza Main Stage at Stageworks Theatre, 10760 Grant Rd. 281-567-6199. stageworkshouston.org 

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