Black Quotidian: Everyday History in African-American Newspapers

August 5, 1939

On August 5, 1939, the New York Amsterdam News featured a picture of singer Maxine Sullivan who was set to make her Broadway debut in a jazz version of Shakespeare’s “Midsummer Night’s Dream” called “Swinging the Dream.”  While the production featured several big names—Louis Armstrong played Bottom, Sullivan played Titania, and Benny Goodman was the music supervisor—it was panned by critics. Sullivan was a leading jazz vocalist in the 1930s and had a hit with a swing version of the Scottish folk song “Loch Lomond.”

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