Terminator the musical
Robert Slack, Lena Long, and JP Bremer in Breanna Bietz's Terminator: The Musical (Photo by Colton Matocha)

The Fallout Theater in Austin, Texas is bringing Breanna Bietz’s Terminator: The Musical to the stage, and we’re ready to don our dark shades and leather jackets and be a part of this!

The theater has always been a special place where anything is possible, even for horror fans. From the lighter, comedy-infused Evil Dead: The Musical and Little Shop of Horrors to the more serious Phantom of the Opera and Jekyll and Hyde, horror has been well-represented, especially in the musical space, so it’s really not a total shocker that this new musical exists.

We spoke to Bietz this morning about her show and what fans can expect when they settle in for the show in the intimate 80-set theater.

The first question: Why Terminator?

“It sort of started as a joke,” the playwright explained. “I asked a friend, ‘wouldn’t it be funny if this was a thing?’ We laughed about it but I kept thinking, ‘I should really write that!'”

Terminator Musical
(Photo by Colton Matocha)

With the idea in her mind, the playwright began to write lyrics and lyrics gave way to scenes. Before she knew it, she was sitting down with musicians to transform the simple melodies she’d created into full songs, and the scenes took on a life of their own.

When she went to the University of New Orleans to begin work on her MFA in play-writing, she was knocked out by the risk-taking, DIY spirit of the theater there, and decided to mount a full production of the show in 2015.

Flash forward to the present. Bietz has been working at the Fallout Theater in Austin, Texas where she decided it was time to resurrect the Terminator and mount a brand new production.

Terminator: The Musical is based on the first two films of the franchise, Terminator and T2: Judgement Day, and the playwright came up with interesting ways of telling the two stories together.

“There are three women who are kind of ensemble entities in the play,” she explained. “Think Little Shop of Horrors or a Greek chorus. They die in almost every scene, but they also come right back so they’re a part of the world but also immune to the world.”

The women, collectively known as the Terminatrixes, keep the story moving playing a variety of characters throughout the show. It’s after one of these transitions that T, as the Terminator is called in the musical, gets his big number titled “Programmed to Kill.”

“What happens is that the ensemble women have just died as cops in a police station, and the rip off their costumes and one becomes a scientist, one becomes an EMT, and one becomes a nun,” Bietz said. “Then T sings this song, and it’s kind of serious camp. He’s up in his feelings because all these people are trying to show him affection and he can’t make them understand he’s not capable of that. He’s just there to kill.”

Terminator Musical Terminatrixes
The Terminatrixes, John Connor, and T in Terminator: The Musical (Photo by Colton Matocha)

Bietz also says that while there’s very little blood in the show, they do play on the fact that T2, in its time, had one of the largest special effects budgets of all time.

“We purposefully play with those big budget moments,” she said, ” in a way that reinforces and also subverts your expectations.”

Terminator: The Musical opens tomorrow night, May 3, 2019, and will run every Friday and Saturday evening through May 25, 2019 at the Fallout Theater in Austin, Texas. Check out the show’s trailer with a snippet of “Programmed to Kill” below!