The summer 2008 production in Stratford, Ontario, starred the internationally renowned stage and screen star Plummer as Caesar and Nikki M. James as Cleopatra. Tony Award winner Des McAnuff (Jersey Boys, The Who's Tommy) directed. It will offer audiences who may never have attended the famed Stratford Festival to see the organization's passionate work up-close. Shakespeare is the festival's core mandate, but works by international authors (classic and contemporary) are staged there annually, between April and November.
The Caesar principal cast also includes John Vickery, Timothy D. Stickney, Diane D'Aquila, Peter Donaldson and Steven Sutcliffe.
"The Cineplex release gives audiences across Canada an opportunity to see Christopher Plummer — a great Canadian actor and international treasure — in a role that he was born to play, along with the brilliant newcomer Nikki James as the legendary teenage queen," stated McAnuff, artistic director of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival and director of the Festival's production of Caesar and Cleopatra. "Caesar and Cleopatra is the story of the occupation of one nation by another — and while it is set more than 2,000 years ago, it is surprisingly contemporary in its subject and its sharp sense of humor. I hope it will serve as a banner production to let Canadians across the country witness the great things that are happening in Stratford."
"We are excited to work with the Stratford Festival, Barry Avrich and CTV to bring this classic performance of Caesar and Cleopatra exclusively to our guests in communities large and small across the country," stated Pat Marshall, vice president, communications and investor relations, Cineplex Entertainment. "From the Metropolitan Opera to The National Ballet of Canada and now the Stratford Festival, Cineplex Entertainment continues to provide our guests with the best out-of-home entertainment available." Executive producers Christopher Plummer, Barry Avrich and Michael Levine worked in partnership with Bravo! to capture the stage performances of the Festival's production of Caesar and Cleopatra over three days in front of live audiences, using HD and digital surround-sound technology.
According to production notes, "Political drama turns to comedy when veteran strategist Julius Caesar becomes mentor to the enchanting teenage queen of Roman-occupied Egypt. Their first encounter under a desert moon will lead to a shift in the course of history, as Cleopatra gradually overcomes her timidity to become a determined player in the game of power politics."
"The historic opportunity to preserve the legendary live performances in this theatrical production on film is unprecedented and an extraordinary gift for both film and theatre lovers," stated Avrich, who is also producer of the film.
Caesar and Cleopatra is presented by Bravo! and is produced by Melbar Entertainment Group. Isme Bennie is the production executive for Bravo! (Bravo! is a division of CTV Limited.)
There has been no announcement of screening dates in the U.S. To view a trailer of the film, visit stratfordfestival.ca.
Advance tickets (and more information) are now available online at www.cineplex.com.
Plummer, a Tony Award Best Actor winner for the Broadway play Barrymore, and famed for playing Capt. Von Trapp in the film "The Sound of Music," recently released his memoir, "In Spite of Myself."