Owen Gleiberman
September 23, 2009 AT 12:00 PM EDT

I’ve attended the Sundance Film Festival for the past 15 years, but I confess that I’ve never heard of the Sundance Institute Theater Lab at White Oak in Yulee, Florida. Now, however, there’s a good reason to stand up and take notice of this organization located deep in the heart of dinner-theater country. Today, it was announced that the Sundance Institute Theater Lab will produce two stage musicals adapted from hit Sundance films. One will be Little Miss Sunshine, the other Like Water for Chocolate.

My first reaction to this was a healthy “Why not?” There’s a long, quirky tradition of musicals drawn from WTF source material (Don Quixote, anyone? How about Doctor Dolittle? Not to mention the recent Berkeley Repertory stage production of Green Day’s American Idiot, which I’m totally psyched to see). So mining some of the landmark independent films of the past 20 years sounds at once profoundly goofy and also, if you let your mind roam, sort of promising in a My God, how bizarre would that be? sort of way.

If these two Sundance shows turn out to be successful, it will almost certainly open the door to others. I can see it now: sex, lies, and videotape — as a brooding cabaret psychodrama! Reservoir Dogs — the jukebox version! Big Night — the grand opera! A Song for Napoleon Dynamite! How to Shoot Andy Warhol Without Really Trying! When you think about it, the possibilities are endless (and no, I’m not even completely kidding).

So what do you think? Is there a classic indie film that would make a truly great musical?

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