And now American Psycho: The Musical brings the story into a new, unexpected format. With music and lyrics by Duncan Sheik and a book by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, the musical was first staged in 2013 in London’s West End starring Doctor Who alumnus Matt Smith, followed by a Broadway run in 2016. In 2019, Berlage’s production premiered at the Hayes Theatre prompting a sell-out run.
Immaculate in his pin-striped suit but a hollow human inside, Bateman’s slick-haired, homicidal, Donald Trump-loving antihero has inspired internet memes, even an action figure complete with briefcase, axe and hammer.
“The story of Patrick Bateman and Americans like him is so ingrained in our pop culture,” says Berlage. “I read that Patrick Bateman Halloween costumes were the most popular among college-aged men at one point. That is both fascinating and scary.”
Despite the work’s reputation, Berlage believes the high-rolling narcissistic exploits of American Psycho’s antihero are perfect for a musical format.
“When I first told people I was doing it, they went, ‘What the hell, you're insane’,” he says. “But it actually makes a lot of sense. You're dealing with a highly surreal and psychological story and there are so many moments where you go inside Patrick’s, or other characters’, heads. That’s perfect for musical theatre because a musical’s song is either a progression of a scene or a revelation of a character's internal monologue. It makes perfect sense for it to be sung.