"The premiere screening was a tremendous success, exceeding everyone's expectations," Antoni Cimolino, general director of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, said in a statement.
Many theatres, including those in Toronto, London and Ottawa, were sold out in advance, and additional screens were added to meet guest demand for the Jan. 31 premiere.
"Our guests absolutely loved the performance and in particular seeing it on the big screen," said Pat Marshall, vice president, communications and investor relations, Cineplex Entertainment. "The encore presentation gives people who didn't have the opportunity to see Caesar and Cleopatra the first time — as well as people who want to see it again — the chance to do so."
"We are thrilled with the critical acclaim and audience reaction that has resulted in the obvious confirmation that this art form is not only in demand but truly accepted in this larger-than-life format," said Avrich, who is also producer of the film.
Starring the legendary Christopher Plummer as Julius Caesar and Nikki M. James as the young Cleopatra, the stage production was directed by Des McAnuff. Bernard Shaw's play was a kind of comic response to Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra. The screenings 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 and Cleopatra principal cast also includes John Vickery, Timothy D. Stickney, Diane D'Aquila, Peter Donaldson and Steven Sutcliffe.
According to Stratford, "In his hands, 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 leads 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."
Executive producers Christopher Plummer, Barry Avrich and Michael Levine worked in partnership with Bravo! to capture the stage performances of the Festival's 2008 production of Caesar and Cleopatra over three days in front of live audiences, in HD and digital surround sound.
Caesar and Cleopatra is presented by Bravo! and is produced by Melbar Entertainment Group. Isme Bennie is the production executive for Bravo!, which is a division of CTV Limited. Caesar and Cleopatra will air on Bravo!Canada on April 4.
Advance tickets are available now online at www.cineplex.com as well as at participating theatre box offices.