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That '80s show: Duncan Sheik on board to compose 'American Psycho' musical

February 2, 2010 |  2:09 pm

American Drenched in equal parts blood and hit '80s pop tunes, Bret Easton Ellis' novel "American Pyscho" chronicled the fissured state of mind of Patrick Bateman, a homicidal New York yuppie who harbored a taste for designer suits and blunt instruments.

The 1991 novel's runaway success spawned a movie starring Christian Bale, which opened in 2000. A musical theater adaptation has been in the works for a while and now appears to be on the fast track, with Duncan Sheik signed on to compose the songs.

Sheik, who won two Tony Awards for "Spring Awakening," will write the music and the lyrics for the show, it was announced on Tuesday. Playwright Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa is set to write the book. 

In a statement, Sheik said that after re-reading Ellis' novel this summer, "I came to feel that what some people (including myself) may have seen as an over-the-top literary folly of the early nineties was in fact a pretty timeless tale of alienation and solipsism."

He added: "And, really, what could be more subversive fun than murderous bankers breaking into song?”

Sheik's score will channel the spirit of the '80s alongside pop hits from the era, according to promoters. They did not say when or where the musical will be staged.

Most recently, Sheik worked on the musical "Whisper House," which currently is running at the Old Globe in San Diego.

Aguirre-Sacasa is an accomplished playwright who has recently been working on HBO's series "Big Love." His new play, "Doctor Cerberus," is set to have its world premiere at South Coast Repertory beginning April.

-- David Ng

Credit: Vintage Books

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Comments () | Archives (4)

Solipsism. That's a big word for Duncan! Good for him! I'll go see it!

Why? I thought it was a terrible movie and certainly doesn't lend itself to be musicalized. We already have Sweeney Todd and he probably can't do better than that. Just what we need is some impressionable youth going to see a murdering musical and thinking, "What a cool thing to do!" and start killing people. "Well officer, I saw them do it in a musical...."

Re Eric Andrist's comment: Yeah right, all those impressionable youth who do whatever media tells them to do.

Have you been to a play lately? It's hard to find any theatergoer younger than Nancy Reagan -- unless you went to Spring Awakening, which you would probably blame for kids having premarital sex.

This is SUCH an interesting announcement. I will admit it sounds strange, but I have faith Sheik will write a great score. Sheik kind of likes weird, dark projects with morbid humor, so this should be right up his alley.

I saw Duncan Sheik in concert last night at the South Orange Performing Arts Center and he was great. He sang songs from WHISPER HOUSE, SPRING AWAKENING, and songs from his upcoming covers album. I have the set list posted on by site.


At the post-concert reception, Duncan told me that no original Broadway cast members of SPRING AWAKENING would be cast in the film version that's in the works. He also told me some stuff about McG, the director, and how they came to pick him. Fascinating stuff. He was such a nice guy.



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