UPDATE, 2:40PM: Adds speculation about a direct move to Broadway, below: Off-Broadway’s Second Stage Theatre just announced that it no longer will be producing the new musical American Psycho, the adaptation of the Bret Easton Ellis novel and feature film that is trying to make its U.S. debut. Benjamin Walker, who starred in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and the loopy historo-musical Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, had been tipped to land the title role of Patrick Bateman created by Christian Bale in the 2000 film.
Second Stage announced the pickup of the musical about excess, murder and flashing the right labels back in July. The show opened in December at London’s Almeida Theatre with Matt Smith (Doctor Who) playing Bateman and was considered a shoo-in for Broadway next season. Second Stage’s plan was to begin performances in February 2015 and open in March at its West 43rd Street home base.
“We are disappointed that we will not be producing American Psycho this season, but the rights holders, Act 4 Entertainment, have decided to not move forward with the production at Second Stage,” Second Stage artistic director Carole Rothman said in a brief release. “We will be announcing a new production in its place in the coming weeks.”
Act 4, a Los Angeles-based company committed to developing socially relevant films and other works, co-produced the London production. Speculation spread through the Broadway community Friday afternoon that the show would open directly on Broadway next spring. Act 4 could not immediately be reached for comment.
Ellis’ 1991 novel prompted furious protests from feminist and human rights groups in reaction to its explicit, play-by-play depiction of the brutal torture and murder of women at the hands of the protagonist, which the book’s defenders insisted was satire of a society gone mad with material obsession and moral vacuity. The musical has inspired almost inevitable comparisons to Sweeney Todd.
Second Stage kicks off its 36th season in October with a new production of the Terrence McNally play Lips Together, Teeth Apart.