A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Ethan Stiefel’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, his first full-length ballet for the company, premiered in 2022 to sold-out audiences. Set to Felix Mendelssohn’s iconic score with additional music written for film by Erich Wolfgang Korngold, the enchanting production transports audiences to a fantastical forest filled with fairies, elves, mischief, romance, joy, and love.

Not only is Stiefel’s playful concoction highly entertaining, but the choreography consistently supports the drama.

-Dance Review
One minute promo reel

Choreographer | Ethan Stiefel

Ethan Stiefel is an internationally recognized artist, educator and leader in the performing arts. Stiefel was the Principal Guest Instructor at American Ballet Theatre (ABT) from 2016-2021 and the Artistic Director of the Royal New Zealand Ballet (RNZB) from 2011-2014. Just before being appointed the RNZB’s Artistic Director, he served as Dean of the School of Dance at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) from 2007-2011.

Stiefel began his professional career at age 16 with the New York City Ballet where he quickly rose to the rank of Principal Dancer. He was also a Principal Dancer with Ballett Zürich and joined American Ballet Theatre as a Principal Dancer in 1997. 

During his career, Stiefel performed leading roles in all of the full-length classics and danced in an extensive range of shorter works created by the industry’s foremost classical, modern and contemporary choreographers. Read more about Ethan Stiefel here.

Scenic Design | Howard Jones

Howard C. Jones is an acclaimed set designer and teacher. His designs have graced stages from coast to coast, including Starlight Theatre, Missouri Repertory Theater, American Heartland Theater, and theater companies in Boston and other east coast cities.

Music | Felix Mendelssohn and Erich Wolfgang Korngold

The music for ARB’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream tells an interesting story. “It includes Erich Korngold’s re-orchestrated score that was made for Max Reinhardt’s 1935 film of the Shakespeare play, bringing a contemporary sheen and another level of magic to our production.” says Stiefel. Finding the Korngold music proved to be a rewarding challenge. Stiefel is grateful to Elizabeth Thompson, librarian for the Princeton Symphony Orchestra, for tracking down the only known American version of the score, located in a basement in southern California. “What’s incredible is that we are bringing this music back to life; as far as we know it’s been performed in the US only once in the 87 years since the 1935 Hollywood premiere. We are essentially rescuing the piece from a forgotten archive and giving it another life onstage in New Brunswick…. It feels kind of historic,” exclaims Stiefel.

Costume Design | Janessa Cornell Urwin

Janessa’s costume designs have been a creative part of over 45 classical ballets and contemporary dance pieces for American Repertory Ballet, Traverse City Dance Project, Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers, Nacre Dance Company, The Nutmeg Ballet, MODArts Dance Collective, Axelrod Contemporary Ballet Theater and the Dance Department at Rutgers University and Stockton University.  She has collaborated with esteemed choreographers Ethan Stiefel, Amy Seiwert, Arthur Mitchell, Stephanie Martinez, Ja’ Malik, Claire Davidson, Da’Von Doane, Meredith Rainey, Caili Quan, Ryoko Tanaka, and Kirk Peterson, bringing their vision to the stage.  Over her decade-long tenure with American Repertory Ballet, Janessa has designed several critically acclaimed full-length works including Stiefel’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Peterson’s Beauty and the Beast.  Other design credits include: Athena Theatre, (film short), The Lost Princess of Oz, and The Polar Express.  Janessa began her career as a ballet dancer, studied Costume Design at the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC, and has guest lectured at NYU/ABT and Mason Gross School of the Arts.

Lighting Design | Joseph R. Walls

Walls has created designs for The John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, Calgary’s The High Performance Rodeo, Washington D.C.’s Inter-American Development Bank. The New York Musical Festival, Washington DC Fringe Festival, The New York International Fringe Festival, Atlanta’s High Museum of Art, The National Theatre of Panamá, Panamá’s Theatro Anayansi, The Figali Convention Center of Panamá, and New York City’s Fall for Dance Festival.

Photos by Rosalie O’Connor Photography

Video editing by Michelle Quiner


One Act | 1 hours, 5 minutes | No Intermission

Number of performers

22 dancers

Tech Rider

Available upon request

Link to full performance video

Available upon request