Shakespeare's effect on America's intellectual and artistic life has been much discussed, but what role does he play on the American popular stage? This study changes our understanding of Shakespeare's presence in American life. The book looks at how Shakespeare came to America just before the Revolutionary War. As Americans broke with Britain, they embraced Britain's playwright. Teague re-examines P. T. Barnum's attempt to buy Shakespeare's Birthplace, the Astor Place Riot when twenty-three people died, and the way both Abraham Lincoln and John Wilkes Booth regarded Shakespeare. In the history of Broadway, more musicals have drawn on Shakespeare than any other author. Shakespeare musicals like Kiss Me, Kate and West Side Story can tell us much about America's culture, but sometimes failed musicals such as Swingin' the Dream can tell us more. With discussion of over twenty Shakespeare musicals, this study demonstrates that Shakespeare has always been present in popular shows.