Posted on Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010 by Russ Fischer
It says a lot about the performance of Christian Bale as the murderous banker Patrick Bateman that, when most people hear the title American Psycho, they immediately think of Mary Harron‘s 2000 movie rather than the original novel by Bret Easton Ellis. Can any cohort of singing and dancing performers hope to upstage Bale’s Bateman, or even stand up to it? Let’s hope so, as American Psycho is being adapted as a stage musical.
Variety has the dirt on the stage version of the story. Duncan Sheik (yeah, that Duncan Sheik) is writing the songs, while Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, a member of the Big Love writing staff, is penning the text.
There are many small questions to lob in reference to this new adaptation including obvious ones like “how much will the story change?” But much more important is: when the story is so reliant on specific ’80s musical references, can a musical version possibly work without having those songs intact? Seeing Christian Bale explain the sublime appeal of Huey Lewis and the News before murdering Jared Leto wouldn’t have been nearly as potent if ‘Hip to be Square’ wasn’t blasting on the soundtrack.
The trade says that the show’s producers “expect the original score to share that ’80s flavor,” but we don’t know anything more. Sheik is certainly middle of the road enough to capture a certain toothless ’80s pop vibe. And he’s got his legit cred established thanks to a 2007 Tony Award for the show Spring Awakening.
We might not see this terribly soon, however. The fact that an stage musical based on the book might come into being was first reported in September 2008. It’s taken this long just to get a creative team assembled to knock songs into shape, so we might be spared a final result for quite some time to come.