“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in Popular Culture
You think Puck was just a lunatic from MTV’s Real World? Think again. References and allusions to Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream run rampant in pop culture. It would take us ages to share them all with you, but here’s a few of our favorites!
Swingin’ the Dream, the Lost Musical
The impulse to adapt A Midsummer Night’s Dream to musical form remains strong, though none has been successful with the general public. A ambitious jazz adaptation, Swingin’ the Dream, appeared briefly on Broadway in 1939. The roster of luminaries involved in the production included was incredible: Benny Goodman played in the band, Agnes DeMille directed the choreography, “Moms” Mabley and Butterfly McQueen sang, and Louis Armstrong played Puck.
Get the story behind the failed Broadway musical in an excerpt from the Shakespeare in American Life documentary. Think those costumes had any anything to do with the lackluster response?
Pigborn: An Online Midsummer Comic
One reviewer said, “This is, from start to finish, McEldowney’s interpretation of Shakespeare’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream”. A classic play redone in a highly entertaining way.” It looks great to us too! Read the book online here!
Happily Ever After….Or Not?
Did you know that there is a sequel to Midsummer? The Thyme of the Season, written in 2006 by Duncan Pflaster, is a deconstructed sequel to Shakespeare’s play. Taking place on Halloween, The Thyme of the Season asks what happens to the characters in A Midsummer Night’s Dream after the Happily Ever After?
A Midsummer Night’s Dream was adapted into a Disney short starring Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, and Daisy Duck as Lysander, Hermia, Demetrius, and Helena, respectively. In the end, the story is revealed to be a dream that Mickey has during a picnic. This short was featured in Disney’s Mickey Mouse Works and House of Mouse.
Get Over It!
The 2001 Get Over It film stars Kirsten Dunst (Kelly Woods/Helena), Ben Foster (Berke Landers/Lysander), Melissa Sagemiller (Allison McAllister/Hermia) and Shane West (Bentley ‘Striker’ Scrumfeld/Demetrius) in a “teen adaptation” of Shakespeare’s play. The characters are set in high school, and in addition to some similarities in plot, there is a sub-plot involving the main characters acting in a musical production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Midsummer in Space!
British Astronomer William Herschel named the two moons of Uranus he discovered in 1787 after characters in the play, Oberon, Titania and Puck.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream opens next week at Orlando Shakespeare Theater.
Click here for more information about our modern take on this classic story, to view pre-production photos, or learn more about our cast!