Genius, mediocrity clash in New Rep’s ‘Amadeus’

The cast of the New Repertory Theatre’s “Amadeus,’’ including Benjamin Evett (center), who plays Antonio Salieri.
The cast of the New Repertory Theatre’s “Amadeus,’’ including Benjamin Evett (center), who plays Antonio Salieri.Andrew Brilliant/Brilliant Pictures

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In a flashback early in the New Repertory Theatre’s production of Peter Shaffer’s “Amadeus,’’ we see the moment when the teenage Antonio Salieri, religiously devout but also desperate for worldly fame, sends heavenward a fervent plea: “Signore, let me be a composer.’’

Salieri, portrayed by Benjamin Evett, does indeed become a famous composer, but one who is excruciatingly aware of his mediocrity. Moreover, he is thrust face-to-face with living proof that there’s nothing fair about the divine allocation of genius: An “obscene child’’ named Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, played by Tim Spears, has been endowed with unrivaled musical gifts. So an enraged Salieri sets out to wage a private war against God, with Mozart as his battleground and immortality at stake.

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