Midsummer in Newtown Midsummer in Newtown A poignant reminder that there is heroism in simply living each day

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When Newtown, Connecticut, was devastated by the loss of 20 first graders and six adults at the hands of a shooter at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the world looked on in horror unable to fathom such a tragedy. In the emotionally powerful and uplifting documentary Midsummer in Newtown, filmmaker Lloyd Kramer gains intimate access to three families who find hope in the transformative power of the arts.

Anchoring the film is the story of two Sandy Hook Elementary School students, Tain and Sammy, who join an exuberant cast of Newtown children — bringing healing to their young lives and to their community by staging “A ROCKIN’ Midsummer Night’s Dream,” a freewheeling musical adaptation of Shakespeare’s beloved comedy. Kramer follows the indomitable cast from pre-audition jitters to the triumphant opening night, where the children’s unwavering spirit steals the show. On a parallel track, the film also explores the world of Jimmy and Nelba, grieving parents determined to honor their beloved 6-year-old daughter Ana who was killed in the 2012 school shooting. While Nelba focuses on helping children, Jimmy — a Grammy®-nominated jazz saxophonist — channels his grief into music he writes and performs.

A poignant reminder that there is heroism in simply living each day, Midsummer in Newtown is a soaring testament to the artistic expression of people determined to reflect love and beauty, in spite of the horror they’ve endured.



  • Presented by: Vulcan Productions and Participant Media
  • Lloyd Kramer: Director
  • Tom Yellin: Producer
  • Braden Cleveland Bergan: Producer
  • Jo Budzilowicz: Producer
  • Sarahbeth Grossman: Co-Producer
  • Lynn Webb: Co-Producer
  • Paul G. Allen: Executive Producer
  • Carole Tomko: Executive Producer
  • Jeff Skoll: Executive Producer
  • Diane Weyermann: Executive Producer
  • Jody Gottlieb: Co-Executive Producer
  • Elise Pearlstein: Co-Executive Producer
  • West Dylan Thomas: Original Music
  • Matt Peterson: Cinematography
  • Amilcar Gomes: Editor
Where to See It

The healing power of the arts

The film is a testament to the transformative force of the arts to pierce through the shadow cast by trauma. In the wake of Sandy Hook, one grieving couple honors their daughter through music, while community children find their voice through a rock-pop version of “A Midsummer Night's Dream.”


“Putting on a show like this shows that one person can’t destroy us—and if we all come together, we can make something beautiful.”

Nicole Kolitsas - Cast member, "A ROCKIN’ Midsummer Night’s Dream"


“For many children, when they come to Sandy Hook, it’s still being thrown back into it every day. Children and staff.”

Maryrose Kristopic – Sandy Hook music teacher


“There’s really no word to describe how bad that event was. There’s no way to communicate that. there’s no way to take what was in here and actually tell someone how bad it is. So there has to be some non-verbal ways to actually have a cathartic effect where you can take some of this and get it out and I believe that the performing arts is a very powerful way to do that.”

Dr. Michael Baroody - Newtown parent