Duncan Sheik and Robert Aguirre-Sacasa Will Make American Psycho Sing

News   Duncan Sheik and Robert Aguirre-Sacasa Will Make American Psycho Sing
Tony Award-winning songwriter Duncan Sheik and busy playwright Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa will collaborate on a new stage musical based on the gruesome novel "American Psycho," about a charming Wall Street banker who is also a serial killer.
Duncan Sheik
Duncan Sheik Photo by Aubrey Reuben

News of the musical first surfaced in 2008; The Johnson-Roessler Company, The Collective and XYZ Films announced the writers of the project on Feb. 2.

Sheik, the alt-pop singer-songwriter who wrote music to the Tony Award-winning Spring Awakening, will write music and lyrics, and Sacasa, a prolific regional and Off-Broadway playwright (Based on a Totally True Story, Bloody Mary, Rough Magic, Dark Matters, Good Boys and True, The Mystery Plays and Say You Love Satan), will write the libretto.

Sheik's score, according to a statement, "will channel the spirit of the 1980s alongside celebrated hits from the era."

The 1991 novel by Bret Easton Ellis showed the world of a charming yuppie who murders without remorse. The book was alternately viewed as a satire or as trash. It was particularly criticized for its scenes of misogyny. A film version comically underlined the character's cold-blooded nature as a sign of the times. Christian Bale starred.

The novel shocked reader and critics, and sold over 1.6 million copies worldwide. Producers of the new musical regard the book as a "landmark satire." American Psycho, according to the producers, "explores the designer lifestyle and twisted mind of Patrick Bateman, a young and handsome Wall Street investment banker in 1980s Manhattan. Bateman's days are driven by his obsessive and over-the-top materialism; by night, his mask of sanity slips away as he descends into a chilling indulgence in drugs, prostitution and murder."

Sheik said in a statement, "After re-reading Bret Easton Ellis' book 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 '90s was in fact a pretty timeless tale of alienation and solipsism in a world where commercialism rules everything and art is only valued for its surfaces. And, really, what could be more subversive fun than murderous bankers breaking into song?"

Ellis stated, "I am a huge fan of Duncan and Roberto and am excited to be collaborating with them. I trust their creative vision of my book and know they will deliver a memorable show to all 'American Psycho' fans and beyond."

The Johnson-Roessler Company's David Johnson, Craig Roessler and Jesse Singer are producing alongside The Collective's Aaron Ray and XYZ Films' Nate Bolotin. Ellis and Edward R. Pressman will serve as consulting producers.

Sheik's musical Whisper House, written with Kyle Jarrow, is currently getting its world premiere at The Old Globe in San Diego. The two-time Tony winner — for Best Orchestration and Best Original Score (for Spring Awakening) — was Grammy Award-nominated for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance for his hit 1996 single "Barely Breathing."

In tandem with his many stage projects, Sacasa is currently writing for HBO's Emmy-nominated hit series "Big Love."

No production timeline has been announced for American Psycho.

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