Stanley Kubrick’s iconic work will be adapted for the first time ever, when a world premiere stage production of his timeless classic Dr. Strangelove opens in the West End in Autumn 2024.
This jet-black comedy masterpiece, about a rogue U.S. General who triggers a nuclear crisis, is brought to the stage by acclaimed, BAFTA and Emmy Award winner Armando Iannucci and Olivier Award winner Sean Foley in an explosively funny satire of mutually assured destruction. Sean Foley will also direct.
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Armando Iannucci said: “It’s both thrilling and hugely terrifying to be asked to adapt Kubrick’s great apocalyptic movie for the stage: which is useful, since it’s a thrilling comedy about huge terror. The events it portrays are no less mad today than when Stanley Kubrick made the film sixty years ago. No-one marshals madness on stage better than Sean Foley so it’s been an extremely enjoyable process plotting our mutually assured destruction together. My hope is audiences will respond to Dr Strangelove on stage with bountiful laughter and shrieks.”
Sean Foley added: “It is both a privilege and a thrill to be asked to adapt and direct one of the most iconic films of all time, and working with Armando Iannucci on the adaptation has been a joy. Stanley Kubrick’s ’nightmare comedy’ is a perennially relevant satire on world politics and how powerful men can be stupid enough to let us all die if it means they get to brag about it. With a string of hilarious scenes and characters, and a plot that takes us to the edge of doom, I hope Dr Strangelove on stage will once again prove to be the comedy that makes us think deeply whilst we laugh our heads off.”
Christiane Kubrick, Stanley’s widow, said: “We have always been reluctant to let anyone adapt any of Stanley's work, and we never have. It was so important to him that it wasn't changed from how he finished it. But we could not resist authorising this project: the time is right; the people doing it are fantastic; and Strangelove should be brought to a new and younger audience. I am sure Stanley would have approved it too.”
Jan Harlan, Stanley’s long-time producer, added “Dr. Strangelove was initially conceived as a serious film based on the novel “Red Alert” by Peter George. During the adaptation Stanley ran into a wall: It was impossible to make a successful film about the end of mankind since nobody, himself included, would want to see it. The answer was satire. Laughing is one of our go-to responses when faced with an inescapable reality. As the film charts our short path to total self-destruction, we must make fun of it and ‘all will be well’.”
Katharina Kubrick, Stanley’s daughter, said “I am thrilled that Dr. Strangelove is being adapted for the stage. The subject matter of this film is particularly relevant again in our prevailing political climate. People often laugh when they would rather cry, and this is exactly how the film, and now the play, handles the possibility of the ultimate destruction of life on earth; certainly, an important topic amongst many, to concentrate the mind. I greatly look forward to seeing Dr Strangelove on the stage, which I am certain will be an outstanding production of the highest calibre.”
A theatre, dates, cast and further creative team will be announced in due course.
Dr. Strangelove is produced by Patrick Myles and David Luff, in association with Tulchin Bartner Productions and Playful Productions.