Question: A friend told me he’d heard that there’s going to be a Broadway musical based on a Stanley Kubrick movie but couldn’t remember which one. Is this true, and, if so, which movie is it? I’m guessing 2001.
Answer: Your friend is partly right: A Stanley Kubrick film has been adapted for the stage, though it’s not a musical and it’s not opening on Broadway. If I had to guess which Kubrick movie would work best as a theater piece, my first instinct would be Paths of Glory (1957), because at heart it’s a courtroom drama. But I’d be wrong: It's Dr. Strangelove, or: How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Bomb (1964), which, come to think of it, could make an excellent dark musical à la Stephen Sondheim’s sardonic Sweeney Todd. But that's not exactly it: It’s a straight production called Major Bang, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Dirty Bomb, commissioned by Foundry Theater artistic director Melanie Joseph in response to America’s post-9/11 foreign and domestic policies and written by playwright Kirk Lynn with input from Joseph and actor Steve Cuiffo (of the experimental Wooster Group); Joseph created the Foundry Theater to present politically engaged theater. Major Bang isn’t a literal adaptation of Dr. Strangelove, but it uses Kubrick’s film as a touchstone (scenes from the film are even projected on stage) for an avant-garde meditation on terror, civil liberties and the politics of fear. Major Bang opened on Jan. 30, 2006, at an off-off-Broadway venue called St. Ann's Warehouse, in Brooklyn.