The Musical Bard Presents a Musical Comedy Mix Unlike Any Other
Conceived and Adapted by John R. Briggs
A Rockin’ Beat Shakespearean ComedyMidsummer Dreams is not your average musical and it’s certainly not your grandmother’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. This musical comedy about the wonders of young love and the belief in the magical nature of the world has been retrofitted in an American Graffiti style to create a true American jukebox musical.
Dreaming of LoveA Midsummer Night’s Dream by Shakespeare is about young love, old love, love in other realms and love of the theatre. Taking the energy of what is one of Shakespeare’s most produced comedies and transforming it into a new entity entitled Midsummer Dreams has created a musical comedy filled with the buoyant and heartfelt tunes that defined the naïve, restless and sometimes defiant youth of late 50s and early 60s America.
Energies Abound in Midsummer DreamsNo, Midsummer Dreams is nor American Graffiti, Grease or even A Midsummer Night’s Dream. (Although it does follow Shakespeare’s plot and has his characters.) With its primary setting being the hit TV show Athenian Bandstand, Midsummer Dreams takes the ever-rebellious nature that defines youth and sets in motion a story of love that occurs when madness seems to rule romance, passion and adoration. Midsummer is a time when the magical, mystical and miraculous abound, enveloping all lovers in an energy that can be felt and experienced but not explained. This stage musical is a favorite or young and old.
Plot and CharactersThe plot is the same as Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, but this time Theseus looks like Dick Clark and the palace is the set of a hit TV “bandstand show.” The young lovers Hermia and Lysander decide to run off into the woods to escape Hermia’s dad, Egeus, and his wrath. Egeus is the sponsor of Athenian Bandstand and he’s determined to make sure his daughter marries his choice, Demetrius, and not her choice, Lysander.
As Lysander and Hermia exit to the dark woods, where comic and romantic mayhem will ensue, they are followed by Demetrius, who also loves that sock hop queen Hermia, and he is followed by Helena, who loves him.
The other group headed into the woods is the comical troop of amateur thespians, which features Nick Bottom as the lead player and Peter Quince as their leader. These players are the technicians for Athenian Bandstand who are practicing their play that they will present at Theseus’ marriage to Hippolyta. These everyday workers are looking to find their magical moment on the stage.
The magic of the night of mad love is captured in the energies of Oberon, Titania, Puck and the Fairies. And with those energies pulsating and Puck being given the orders to create mischief, Midsummer Dreams launches into this myriad of twists, turns and chance happenings that capture the changing energies of lovers put under a powerful spell.
Alliances, lovers and even animal forms change under the various spells from the other world as life transform into a dream in the night. But just like in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, in the musical Midsummer Dreams all is made right as three human couples—Theseus and Hippolyta, Hermia and Lysander and Helena and Demetrius—are married, the amateur players present their production for the wedding couples and Oberon and Titania, the magical lovers, are joined.
A Retro, Rockin’ and Riotous Audience ExperienceWhy do audiences love Midsummer Dreams? Let’s count the ways! First, there’s the music that harkens back to a time when rock and roll ruled. The score is filled with hits such as Teenager in Love, Twist and Shout, Chapel of Love, Love Me Tender and much more. These songs are huge audience pleasers and massive showstoppers.
Second, this musical is laced with very recognizable American character-types like Dick Clark, Marilyn Monroe, Sandra Dee, James Dean, Elvis Presley, Olivia Newton-John, Chuck Berry and Richard Nixon. This makes an instant connection between Shakespeare’s 400-year-old A Midsummer Night’s Dream and today’s modern audience.
Third, the dialogue and circumstances have been adapted to connect with today’s audiences, making the story, characters and jokes instantly recognizable. Midsummer Dreams doesn’t just take audiences back to the late 50s, it creates a cultural connection to today. Putting it simply—it’s about as funny as can be in every way!
Finally, fourth, this is a wonderful musical comedy with a timeless story that has proven time and again to be an instant hit with audiences. Retro, rockin’ and riotous, Midsummer Dreams is cool, keen and a blast. Rock and roll is here to stay.Midsummer Dreams, the rocking musical adaptation of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, is available through Musical Bard. For more information on licensing please see our FAQs. To register and gain full access to Musical Bard simply fill in the short form to your right.