Eric Hofbauer Jazz Guitarist / Composer / Educator

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Prelude: The Ghost of Caesar – On Tour with ‘Julius Caesar’ 4/12 in Bogota

Next week the Centre Dramatique National production of Shakespeare’s ‘Julius Caesar’ goes on tour again. This is our fourth tour in as many years since our original run in 2008, in Boston.

In case you are unaware of this part of my music life, let me catch you up. In 2008 the American Repertory Theatre in Harvard Square put on a production of ‘Julius Caesar’ directed by French director Arthur Nauzyciel. The concept was to update the play with a post-modern recasting of the action to take place in Kennedy era America.  The text was all original Shakespeare but the setting was pitch perfect early 60’s and the costumes, sets and music illustrated that. So… instead of the ‘chorus’ in the original play, this production had a jazz trio (Marianne Solivan, voice, myself on guitar, and Blake Newman, bass). We played jazz standards (with lyrics that matched the mood of the action or text) behind, in front of, and in between most of the scenes.

In 2009 and then again in 2010 and 2011 the French theatre company, Centre Dramatique Nationale in Orleans produced tours in France of ‘Julius Caesar’ where we recreated the exact same production as here in America but with surtitles in French. All of the tours were amazing experiences and the show was enthusiastically received by French audiences.

Now we are taking this show to Bogota to perform in the Festival Iberoamericano de Teatro de Bogota, the largest the theatre festival in the world.

Like with my first solo tour of France in Fall of 2011, I will be blogging about the interesting experiences along the way.

Today’s blog is just a little prelude and introduction to the music. In early 2011 the Julius Caesar Jazz Trio (Marianne, Blake and myself) made a recording of all the music from the show. CDN, the french production company released the CD and sells it at shows. It is not yet available for sale in the U.S. but I hope it will soon become available through digital outlets in a few months. In the meantime, here is a track from the recording. It is ‘Gone With the Wind’, and our arrangement is inspired by the Julie London version. In the show we play this song as part of a party going on backstage while Brutus and others speak of the end of Pompey’s life and Caesar’s power grab.

More to come once we arrive in Bogota on April 1.

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