The Shubert Organization, with 17 houses Broadway’s biggest landlord, has landed one major catch for next season: Duncan Sheik’s musical adaptation of American Psycho. Producers Act 4 Entertainment (David Johnson & Jesse Singer), Jeffrey Richards and Jerry Frankel, “in cooperation with Edward R. Pressman,” said Thursday that the show will begin previews on February 19, 2016 and open March 21 at a Shubert theater to be determined. Rehearsals are slated to begin January 11 with Benjamin Walker (Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter; Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson) playing bloody, bloody Patrick Bateman, a role created by Christian Bale in the 2000 film adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’ novel about greed, murder and luxury labels set in the anything-goes ’80s. Directing is Rupert Goold (King George III), with choreography by Lynne Page (La Cage Aux Folles).
With music and lyrics by Sheik (Spring Awakening) and book by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (Spider-Man Turn Off The Dark), American Psycho had its world premiere in late 2013 in London, where it was presented by the Almeida Theatre and Headlong in association with Act 4 Entertainment, a Los Angeles-based film and new media development company founded by Johnson that describes itself as committed to projects that “motivate and inspire audiences across the world toward social action.” Matt Smith (Dr. Who) starred in that production.
“I’ve been a huge fan of Ben’s work on stage and screen and am really looking forward to working with him on American Psycho,” said Goold. “He is an enormous talent and I think audiences will be utterly seduced by his dangerous charisma and extraordinary stage presence. He’ll make a killer Patrick Bateman.”
Following the successful London outing, Johnson announced that the show would have its U.S. pre-Broadway run at off-Broadway’s Second Stage Theatre, which slated the show for its 2014-2015 season. Those plans were canceled when more U.S. producers came on board and persuaded Johnson to go directly to Broadway. The combination of up-and-comer Walker, Tony winner Sheik and a title already well known from the bestselling book and star-cast movie have made American Psycho a hot property.
“Ever since Ben ignited the musical theatre with his startling and superb performance in Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson, I had hoped to work with him again,” said Jeffrey Richards. “When Jerry Frankel and I were offered the opportunity to join David Johnson and Jesse Singer of Act 4 Entertainment in presenting American Psycho, my first thought was that the most charismatic and sexy actor for the role of Patrick Bateman would be…Benjamin Walker. The gift of collaborative partners is that we were all in agreement…and so for that matter, as I found out, was the entire creative team.”
Walker stars opposite Chris Hemsworth in Warner Brothers In The Heart Of The Sea from director Ron Howard. Sheik, who won Tonys in 2007 for his score and orchestrations for Spring Awakening, will be a double threat this season, with Deaf West Theatre’s lauded revival of that show opening in the fall at the Nederlander-owned Brooks Atkinson Theatre. Walker is repped by WME and Inspire Entertainment.