New York production company Public Theater are depicting Caesar as a blond-haired businessman who was “bent on absolute power”.
His wife in the play, Calpurnia, is depicted wearing designer outfits and speaking with an apparent Slavic accent – heavily hinting that she is based on First Lady Melania Trump.
Both Delta Air Lines and Bank of America have ended their sponsorship of the production, which Delta said had “crossed the line on the standards of good taste”.
The airline added that the “graphic staging of Julius Caesar” at the Free Shakespeare in the Park event “does not reflect” the the company’s values.
Caesar is assassinated when he is stabbed multiple times in a critical moment in the play, that is staged at Central Park in Manhattan.
Public Theater described its portrayal of the Roman leader as “magnetic, populist and irreverent”.
The company added on its website that the play is about “how fragile democracy is”.
President Trump’s son, Donald Trump Junior, criticised the production, questioning whether boundaries had been crossed.
He tweeted: “I wonder how much of this ‘art’ is funded by taxpayers?
“Serious question, when does ‘art’ become political speech & does that change things?”
I wonder how much of this “art” is funded by taxpayers? Serious question, when does “art” become political speech & does that change things? https://t.co/JfOmLLBJCn
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) June 11, 2017
Commenting on the row, Gregory Doran, the artistic director of the UK’s Royal Shakespeare Company, said: “Shakespeare is like a magnet that attracts all the iron filings of what is happening in the world.”
Delta and Bank of America have both supported the Shakespeare season in Central Park for several years.
The play opened with previews on 23 May and the production is due to run until 18 June.
Top pic: Rex