“Das Kapital” To Become Musical

karlmarx_460x276When I worked on Lincoln Center Theater’s “The Coast of Utopia,” Tom Stoppard’s play about Russian revolutionaries, we used to joke that the musical version would draw on the Beach Boys and be called “Serfs Up!” But it appears that a new musical in China about one of “Utopia”‘s characters, Karl Marx (pictured), is no parody. According to the Guardian, Chinese producers are attempting to transform Marx’s masterwork “Das Kapital” from a hefty treatise on political economy into a popular stage show, complete with catchy tunes and nifty footwork. The Guardian says that “director He Nian – best known for his stage adaptation of a martial-arts spoof – has promised to unite elements from Broadway musicals and Las Vegas shows in a hip, interesting, and educational play featuring a live band, singing and dancing.” I know, I know: “Les Miserables,” one of the most successful musicals of all time, trafficked in 19th-century revolutionary fervor. But Marx isn’t exactly known for vivid characterization or riveting plot. And “surplus value” doesn’t suggest catchy lyrical possibilities.

Leave a Comment