This is not your typical Roman-themed show. The Rise and Fall of Rome isn’t about the political or military reasons why the Roman Empire fell, but rather explores the wonders of Roman architecture and the influence that religion had on the ancient civilization. The opening production focuses on the hard work of slaves and other laborers, using chisels, hammers and their own backbreaking labor to create the beautifully stunning architectural masterpieces that still exist as ruins in and around Rome. Many of these works were created to honor the many gods of Rome, as well as the emperors. The music portrays the chiseling of the stone and the assembly and erection of the large Roman columns.The contrasting segment captures the darkened, murky crevices of the underground burial grounds of the ancient Romans and latter Christian martyrs. Somber and reverent, it portends the other side of the glorious Roman culture. The conclusion explores the Pagan celebrations of many gods, some not so benevolent as others. The “Pagan Dance” segment is ritualistic and a tad ominous, percussion pounding the underlying beat while the celebrants conjure up a flurry of unrestrained revelry. The “Great Fire” segment re-creates the awesome cataclysm that started in the wooden shops and houses around the Circus Maximus, destroying untold structures, including Nero’s palace and a variety of temples.