Shakespeare on Broadway: The One That Defined Theater

Here’s a look at some of the new Broadway hits from the past, present, and future of Shakespeare’s plays. Shakespeare has been on Broadway since its initial days and has left a huge mark on some modern-day plays.

& JULIET

Juliet mixes Romeo and Juliet with the pop hits of the 90s and 2000s to tell the story of what might happen if Juliet were to go it alone after her husband’s death.

Coriolanus

The actress sings her heart out as she dances through the streets of East London in the 19th century, singing of her love for Romeo and Juliet. They meet after they are separated by the death of their husband, the murder of his wife, and the birth of new love.

Get Over It

The 2011 adaptation is very much set in the present, using Shakespeare’s original text and interwoven with Ralph Fiennes. The more famous Romeo and Juliet is paired with a full turn-of-the-century flashback.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream follows a group of teenagers as they try to perform a musical version of Shakespeare’s play. The Twelfth Night is about a girl who disguises herself as her twin brother to stay on the school’s football team. Released in 1999, this teen comedy, inspired by the great indie rock soundtrack of the 1990s, turns the Taming of the Shrew into a story of high school romance, delivering a rarely performed play with a great cast. If you can’t get over the iconic scene in which Heath Ledger plays Julia Stiles, you’ll be grateful to see this surprisingly topical tale.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a musical version of Shakespeare’s play about a group of teenagers trying to perform their own rendition of the play.

Kiss Me, Kate!

The problematic piece takes the sting out of the whole thing with a full backstage abduction and big numbers, but it’s not without flaws. A Midsummer Night’s Dream and an attempt to create a new version of “The Taming of the Shrew” amid one of Broadway’s most popular musicals.

Since Shakespeare’s plays first appeared, people have remixed and reinvented them. In the 17th century, this often took the form of a sad ending becoming a happy ending. Nowadays it can mean changing the setting, adding songs, or imagining the process of performing the piece. This is what defines Shakespeare on Broadway and his huge impact on modern-day musical theater.

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