See below for info on the original 2006 production. Six years later, we are delighted that this project we love so much has found new life. It’s a shorter, leaner, more musicalized, rock-festival version of MIDSUMMER in which we’ve taken more liberties with the original text — and accordingly, we’ve retitled it A LITTLE MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM.
A little history about the original, longer version: in 2006, we had the great honor and privilege of working with director Tina Landau on an innovative, incredibly fun production of Shakespeare’s A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM. The show was co-produced by McCarter Theatre in Princeton, NJ and Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, NJ, and the basic idea was that the entire show was GrooveLily’s dream. It began with the 3 of us onstage asleep at our instruments, and then got more exciting from there. We were onstage almost the whole time, playing some original songs as well as setting lots of Shakespeare’s text to music, underscoring much of the dialogue, and acting as three of the “rude mechanicals” (Snout, Snug and Starveling).
We recorded an album inspired by the experience, called “A Little Midsummer Night’s Music” (PS Classics), which features some of our most adventurous writing to date.
Check out some photos, info and video clips of the production here:
Presented by the McCarter Theatre, Princeton, New Jersey, and the Paper Mill Playhouse, Millburn, New Jersey. March 21-April 9, 2006 and April 19-May 21, 2006. Directed by Tina Landau. Original music composed and performed by GrooveLily. Set by Louisa Thompson. Costumes by Michael Krass. Lighting by Scott Zielinski. Sound Design by Michael Bodeen and Roy Milburn. Aerial Design by Christopher Harrison and AntiGravity Inc. With Jay Goede (Theseus, Oberon), Ellen McLaughlin (Hippolyta, Titania), Guy Adkins (Puck, Philostrate), James Martinez (Lysander), Will Fowler (Demetrius), Stacey Sargeant (Hermia), Brenda Withers (Helena), Lea DeLaria (Nick Bottom), Demond Green (Francis Flute), Stephen Payne (Egeus, Quince), Valerie Vigoda (Robin Starveling), Brendan Milburn (Tom Snout), Gene Lewin (Snug), Karl Christian (Peaseblossom, Attendant), Jesse Nager (Cobweb), Ryan Overberg (Moth, Attendant), Reginald Holden Jennings (Mustardseed), Christopher Mai (Fairy, Attendant), Adam Lobato (Attendant).
[Midsummer Night's Dream] is built around the jazz-rock band GrooveLily, and their luscious stylings recall a smooth but hard-driving blend of Roxy Music and Herbie Hancock, quite suitably ornate and theatrical.
—Jonathon Warman, The New York Blade
Much of the familiar dialogue, conveniently written in rhyming couplets, is scored and sung with contemporary GrooveLily melodies so well suited to the words that it’s hard to believe they were written centuries apart.
—William Westhoven, The Daily Record
Their music, sensual, glib, romantic and raucous, delights throughout with its varied and eclectic musical vocabulary traversing rock, blues, Broadway, folk and jazz, even a passing nod to Kurt Weill, but mostly defined by its originality and independence.
—Simon Saltzman, CurtainUp