Caesar’s Blood

by Rich Rubin
directed by Ryan Jason Cook

Caesar’s Blood is set in November, 1864, shortly after President Abraham Lincoln has been elected to a second term. While the American Civil War rages on, the three most celebrated and acclaimed actors of the age, Junius, Edwin, and John Wilkes Booth, prepare for a ‘one time only’ performance of “Julius Caesar” at New York’s Winter Garden Theater. Though Abraham Lincoln admires all three Booth brothers for their work, his admiration is not entirely returned by the actors. While Junius and Edwin are strong supporters of Lincoln and the Union, their fiery younger brother John Wilkes fervently supports Jefferson Davis and the Confederacy.

Playwright Rich Rubin skillfully mines this real-life event of the three Booth brothers appearing on the same stage to explore the politics of the day, the theater, and the frequently volcanic sibling rivalry between the three gifted brothers. To complicate matters, the brothers are visited backstage by their mother (who makes little secret of “Johnny” being her favorite son), and John Wilkes must endure the presence of Edwin’s dresser, a former slave named Benjamin Waters. The close quarters of the dressing room, filled to overflowing with the prickly egos and differing political loyalties of the Booths, creates a powder keg situation where anything can happen.

Director Ryan Jason Cook says Caesar’s Blood combines two of his favorite things as either actor or director – complex characters and volatile situations. Cook says much of his rehearsal time with his actors will focus on uncovering and understanding the fractious, jealousy tinged personal, professional, and political relationships among the Booth brothers. Cast members include Stafford Douglas as John Wilkes Booth, Shangreaux Lagrave as Junius Brutus Booth, Micah Linford as Edwin Booth, Debi Kierst as Mary Ann Booth, and Hakim Bellamy as Benjamin Waters.

Rich Rubin, a former longtime resident of Albuquerque and Professor Emeritus, Department of Medicine, University of New Mexico School of Medicine, has had plays produced in the United States, Europe, Asia, Australia, Canada, and Mexico. He will be on hand April 8th and 9th to see “Caesar’s Blood” come to life at The Adobe.

Caesar’s Blood opens Friday, March 25th and plays 4 weekends through Sunday, April 17th, 2016.

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