Carbonell Award-winning actor Antonio Amadeo has played some great roles on South Florida stages: the title character in The Elephant Man at Mosaic Theatre, a hounded author in The Pillowman at GableStage, a Czech student in Tom Stoppard’s Rock ’n’ Roll at Mosaic. He and his actress-wife, Katherine Amadeo, founded The Naked Stage with their friend John Manzelli, and the Amadeos are the force behind South Florida’s popular annual 24-Hour Theatre Project.
As Amadeo was in rehearsal for this week’s Island City Stage world premiere of Michael McKeever’s Daniel’s Husband, a play the actor calls “gut-wrenchingly beautiful,” he recalled his path into the world of theater.
“I went to Kenwood Elementary School, and my kindergarten teacher Miss Felcoski later became my fifth-grade teacher. She put me in a play, a simple American presidents thing, and it was wonderful, I loved it, it was great. The next year she did a play called Shakespeare and the Computer, and for the first time used fifth- and sixth-graders, so that I could be Romeo. My grandparents had tickets to the Broadway shows at the Jackie Gleason Theater on Miami Beach, and the first show they took me to was a tour of [the musical] Big River. When I saw it, I said, ‘This is what I have to do,’ and I went to the University of Miami,” Amadeo recalls.
“Later, [artistic director] David Arisco scheduled a production of Big River at Actors’ Playhouse. He only knew me as a tech person, and I hadn’t performed there, but I called him and said, ‘I have to be in that show.’ I was in the chorus, and it was one of the best theatrical experiences I’ve ever had. After that, I did a ton of plays at Actors’ ... My wife Katie and I met there when we did The Sound of Music. She was Liesel [von Trapp], and I was a Nazi.”