American Psycho Musical Coming to Broadway

American Psycho Musical Coming to Broadway

The American Psycho musical, which premiered in London at the Almeida Theatre in 2013, is set to open on Broadway this season. Previews begin February 19 and the official opening is set for March 21. The musical, based on Bret Easton Ellis' 1991 novel, was written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (Spider-Man: Turn Off the DarkThe Town That Dreaded Sundown (2014)) with music and lyrics by Duncan Sheik (Spring Awakening). Robert Goold, who directed the London production and is also the Artistic Director of the Almeida Theatre, has returned to direct the Broadway production as well. Matt Smith (Doctor Who) played the role of Patrick Bateman in London but Benjamin Walker (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter), who played the role in the 2011 New York workshop for the musical, will star in the upcoming Broadway production.

In addition to original music by Duncan Sheik, the show features songs from the novel and film, such as "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" and "Hip to Be Square". I was lucky enough to see the show twice when it was running in London and many of the musical references from the novel make it into the show, including Les Mis. Two years after seeing the production, I still catch myself humming some of the original songs: they're witty, dark, and disturbingly catchy.  In the playbill for the show, Sheik states: 

Initially what I felt when I read the book was, this could be really interesting if the score was completely electronic, if it was all analogue synthesizers and drum machines—not that it’s just retro and of the era, because synthesizers have been happening since the late ‘60s, and currently they’re as in vogue as they’ve ever been—it’s this idea of using sounds that are completely inorganic as a way of thinking about this set of people who are only interested in the surfaces of things, how they look and what they wear. The insides are kind of ignored or pushed down—at everyone’s peril.

American Psycho and Patrick Bateman are iconic, something Bret Easton Ellis touched on in a 20th anniversary interview with Publishers Weekly in 2011: "I cannot tell you how many times young men have come up to me and showed me on their phones pictures of them dressed as Patrick Bateman for Halloween. I see fake business cards all the time—people send me those as well. I am not sick of any of it. The fact that we are even talking about this book now is still surprising to me." It's no wonder a novel that is so rooted in pop-culture and music has been adapted for the stage. In the playbill, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa describes his reasons for taking on the project:

My first response was ‘Who would go see that?’ But then I immediately thought, ‘Well, I would, I’d definitely go see it.’ It seemed to me that the best musicals introduce you to a fascinating world—which this one would do: New York at the end of the 1980s—and a compelling central character with a great need or struggle. Which this would also have: Patrick Bateman, fighting to control the void both within and without him.

What do you think? Would you go see the musical? What other novels would you like see translated for the stage?

Emily Rose Lathrop

News by Emily Rose Lathrop

Emily has a Master's degree in early modern literature and drama from King's College London and a Bachelor's in English from the University of Iowa. In addition to being a social media manager, she is a writer and theatre practitioner.

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