Caesar The Musical
1 Sept 2021
Dan Folino, William Clarence Marshall, Jayson Gage, Steph Geber, Marc Moritz
As the title suggests, this is a story about the life of Roman statesman and general Julius Caesar, who governed the Roman Republic as a dictator from 49 BC until 44 BC. It is a stage play, filled with music and songs that tell his life's story.
The narrative begins with 25-year-old Caesar being captured by pirates on his way to Greece and follows his actions and achievements from there, covering significant events including his conquest of Gaul with the aid of Marc Antony, his victory over Pompey and his assassination. The film also explores his relationship with Servilia and Cleopatra. Other characters include Brutus, Decimus and Vita.
The feature was shot on location at the Maltz Performing Arts Center in Cleveland, Ohio and watching it is like going to the theatre. The action takes place on a stage, with the actors and actresses having conversations or narrating the story by singing, although there is also limited normal dialogue. The performers tend to stand still throughout, however there are sequences that involve dancing.
The cast deliver dynamic performances and their voices sound powerful and full of emotion. The award-winning score consists of fantastic numbers that make the audience feel like they are at the opera. The performers sometimes look at the camera and sometimes they look off-screen. Although the plot deals with dramatic events, there are also comical parts, particularly a song that involves a rather amusing performance by Moritz as Pompey.
Petrone's direction includes plenty of closeups of the performer's faces and when songs occur, the film does not show all performers on screen simoultaneously but rather cuts from one to another as they sing. By utilizing this technique, the sequences seem more exciting. The filmmakers also often use the dissolve technique and occasionally there is narration.
Regarding the mise-en-scene, the clothing that the cast wear looks great and gives the impression that it belongs in that period. The same goes for the weaponry and furniture.
Right from the beginning, this entertaining and educational musical captures the viewer's attention with the wonderful singing and outstanding music, which are the film's two strongest aspects. This interesting achievement has drama, fun, historical facts and figures and deserves a great deal of praise.