Edgar Allan Poe – Once upon a midnight is a play starring John Astin, a professional television, film, and stage actor, directed by Alan Bergmann and written by Paul Day Clemens and Ron Magid. Astin, in the play Once upon a midnight, portrays Edgar Allan Poe in the play, the man behind modern detective fiction, first to write in the science fiction tale. In the play, Astin tells a story about Poe’s journey of searching beauty far greater than the things on Earth. The play portrays Poe’s unfortunate childhood experiences, his struggle with alcohol, his battle with poverty and his early death at the age of 40. Although tragic as it may seem, the play tries to add a touch of comedy to Poe’s married life with his wife Virginia, his 13-year-old cousin.
The play, in general, is a mixture of real-life historical events and the creativity of adding supernatural scenes. It was claimed that half of Astin’s lines were from Poe’s writing; letters, poems, essays, stories, notes, and such. The play was formed through the help of various talented people such as John Boesche who designed the sceneries, Todd Hensley on the lighting effects, Vicki S. Holden on their realistic costumes, Rob Milburn and Michael Bodeen who designed the sound of the play.
Astin became a well-known visiting theater professor at the Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD. He was also the founder and the director of Hopkins University Theatre. In 2004, the play “Edgar Allan Poe: Once Upon a Midnight” continued to be performed in various theaters such as Elgin Community College, Stockton College Campus, Keswick Theatre, and Monmouth University. People who have watched the play remarked Astin’s portrayal of Poe as marvelous. The play only brought the people closer the detective fiction legend through colorful and real-life theatrical play.