American Psycho the Musical is the latest iteration of Bret Easton Ellis’s 1991 novel about Patrick Bateman, a young Wall Street executive obsessed with appearances, and his murderous activities. The musical follows the successful 2000 movie starring Christian Bale in the lead role, of which, admittedly, I am a big fan. I enjoyed the commentary about materialism as well as the concept of the villain, though highly exaggerated, who lives among us. As the tale unfolds, we eventually come to learn that some of the murders didn’t take place, leading us to question if any of them did — the realization that we are dealing with an untrustworthy narrator is a nice plot twist that alludes to the inner workings of a disturbed mind.
The American Psycho musical shares plenty of dialogue with the movie, but with a clear shift in tone. In what appears to be an attempt to soften the material and make it more palatable, the musical hits the satirical tone harder, seemingly intending to draw laughs. The women in the musical are portrayed as being as equally vacuous as the men (barring Jean, the secretary and ingénue, who is given a more robust role as the female lead). Patrick’s mother shares a scene with Jean which is new to this iteration, which feels like a stilted attempt to convince us that if these two women could love Patrick, then he can’t be all that bad. And although the outcome of the plot is similar, the musical ends with a gratuitous summation, which works to completely obliterate any satisfaction from the reveal found in the prior versions.
While the costumes and the score at the American Psycho musical were higher notes, I feel like there were plenty of chances to do more: Might there have been greater tension if the gory death scenes had been juxtaposed with elegant and graceful choreography? Might the musical have resonated more loudly with the audience if it had been set in the present day, with recent hits like The Big Short suggesting that the wounds from the recent Wall Street crash are still unhealed?
If you’re just looking for a fun 80’s-themed musical and lots of beautiful people to look at, then this might be enjoyable. But if you’re a fan of the previous material then this may be a pass — the cup of missed opportunities runneth over.
236 W 45th St
Pair it with:
A meal at Don Antonio
Just a few streets over from the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre you’ll find Don Antonio, a pizzeria that opened in 2012. Though relatively new in what would appear to be an already saturated market, Don Antonio’s brings with it pizza pedigree—Roberto Caporuscio of Kesté Pizza & Vino, and his maestro, Antonio Starita, third generation owner of one Naples’ oldest and most revered pizzerias, Pizzeria Starita a Materdei—are behind it. You can stick to the classics, like the Margherita, pick something more interesting like the Ricotta (we’re big fans!), or go all out with the Montanara Starita, which features deep fried dough topped with smoked buffalo mozzarella and fresh tomatoes, that is then finished off in the wood oven.
309 W 50th St
Monday – Thursday: 11:30AM – 11:00PM
Friday: 11:30AM – 12:00AM
Saturday: 11:30AM – 12:00AM
Sunday: 11:30AM – 10:30PM