Skip to main content Skip to footer site map
REVIEW ROUNDUP- THEATRE
Click Here for More Articles on REVIEW ROUNDUP- THEATRE

Review Roundup: AMERICAN PSYCHO Opens on Broadway - All the Reviews!

AMERICAN PSYCHO, the new musical based on the novel by Bret Easton Ellis, officially opens on Broadway tonight, April 21, 2016, at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre.

American Psycho has music, lyrics and orchestrations by Tony and Grammy Award-winner Duncan Sheik, and a book by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa. Directed by Olivier Award winner Rupert Goold, AMERICAN PSYCHO has choreography by Tony Award nominee Lynne Page. Benjamin Walker leads the company as Patrick Bateman.

The cast also includes Heléne Yorke, Tony winner Alice Ripley, Tony nominee Jennifer Damiano, Drew Moerlein, Krystina Alabado, Dave Thomas Brown, Jordan Dean, Anna Eilinsfeld, Jason Hite, Ericka Hunter, Holly James, Keith Randolph Smith, Theo Stockman, Alex Michael Stoll, and Morgan Weed. Also featured in the company are Brandon Kalm, Sydney Morton, Anthony Sagaria, and Neka Zang.

Set in the excess of 1980s Manhattan, American Psycho tells the story of Patrick Bateman, a young and handsome Wall Street banker who pursues his darkest American dreams.

Let's check out what the critics had to say...

Ben Brantley, The New York Times: Though it often looks as carefully and cosmetically arranged as a window at Barneys, Patrick's favorite store,..."American Psycho" is a mess. That's not because of all that sloppy, sloshy blood, but because of its terminally undecided tone. This latest incarnation...suffers from the weight of having to be a big Broadway musical...Even more than Matt Smith, who originated the role in London, Mr. Walker presents Patrick as an insecure man who deeply needs to fit in and despises himself for doing so...Mr. Walker, who oozed charisma in "Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson," holds the show together, for sure...Mostly, though, this psycho is neither scary nor sexy, nor is the show in which he appears.

Melissa Rose Bernardo, Entertainment Weekly: If you can resign yourself to the story's innate ambiguity, you're in for a perversely enjoyable experience. The script, by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa...captures, and deftly skewers, all of Patrick Bateman's and the 1980s' most over-the-top obsessions...The music is totally '80s as well: Sheik's bizarrely catchy, entirely electronic score - far from the usual Broadway fare...Since its 2013 premiere at London's Almeida Theatre with erstwhileDoctor Who star Matt Smith as the titular psycho, AP has gotten a lot bloodier. It's also gotten a lot slicker, sharper, faster, and funnier...Patrick's secretary, Jean (Next to Normal's Jennifer Damiano), haplessly and hopelessly in love with him, and his mother (Tony-winner Alice Ripley)...these two sincere characters seem out of place in such a stinging satire...And as for the violence - it's simply part of the story, usually a joke, and often part of a stunning stage picture.

Jesse Green, Vulture: As it is, only the point of the show is invisible. Everything else, including lots of ripped hardbodies in underwear, is on vulgar display...the physical design, especially the interlocking sets and video by Es Devlin and Finn Ross, is as neat and tucked-in as aTurnbull & Asser poplin double-cuff contrast-collar shirt...But the structure and tone are a lazy mess...changes that may have worked on film are undermined by the musical format; what the camera registers sardonically feels silly and cartoonish when rendered onstage...Jean, played touchingly by Jennifer Damiano...The only numbers that consistently nail down the dramatic moment, the mood, and the period are the five interpolated from the '80s pop charts...Patrick Bateman, though played with unnerving verve by Benjamin Walker, is no Sweeney Todd; he's a cipher who never develops. He's thus a bore....

Elisabeth Vincentelli, New York Post: Benjamin Walker is toned and resplendent in his tighty whities...his fiancée, played with hilarious archness by Heléne Yorke...The second act flags...but the score is strong...Duncan Sheik's synthesizer-heavy music - radical by Broadway standards...finally delivers a worthy follow-up to his "Spring Awakening." A comic "American Psycho" you can dance to? Somehow, it works.

Linda Winer, Newsday: Well, does it kill? The answer is definitely yes, no and sometimes. In other words, success depends on what's happening in "American Psycho," the alternately dazzling and dull musical...in the middle is Benjamin Walker ("Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson"), so weird and nuanced as Patrick that misgivings about the vehicle feel almost churlish...I wouldn't want to lose a swatch of Es Devlin's ever-morphing box set with the amazing nonstop videos by Finn Ross...Katrina Lindsay's costumes are ideally flattering and ridiculous. The least subtle element is Lynne Page's choreography...

Elysa Gardner, USA Today: Patrick - a young investment banker who moonlights as a serial killer - popped up on a London stage a few years ago, in a musical adaptation that actually proved more entertaining and poignant than its source. That show has now brought Patrick and his story home, and they're scarier and more thrilling than ever...reminds us how little has changed in the past 30 years. Patrick's idol Donald Trump, mentioned more than once in Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa's razor-sharp libretto, looms larger and sparks more debate than ever...The triumph of this American Psycho, directed with gale force and fabulous style byRupert Goold, is that it doesn't get lost in the details informing its brilliant, brutal satire... Es Devlin's cold, sleek set design...Katrina Lindsay's alternately slick and garish costumes reinforce both the superficiality of Patrick's lifestyle and the throbbing tension underneath....Walker's witty, terrifying Patrick - disturbingly sexy, then unexpectedly moving- holds us rapt throughout.

Mark Kennedy, The Associated Press: The gloriously gory, sleek, over-the-top musical that opened Thursday at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre is a darkly wonderful adaptation of the once-controversial novel by Bret Easton Ellis...Walker, who is a Patrick Bateman both superficial and a critic of superficiality, is built like an Adonis - hard not to notice since he spends most of the show in his underwear - and has a detached, menacing air. He manages to make his Bateman charming, evil and funny...Credit story writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, songwriter Duncan Sheik and director Rupert Goold for going whole hog...Sheik's electronic- and choral-based score is marvelously varied... the cast includes a deliciously airheaded Heléne Yorke as Bateman's girlfriend and a sweet, beautifully voiced Jennifer Damiano as Bateman's secretary. Alice Ripley plays several parts and is great in all but we'd love to see more.

Alexis Soloski, The Guardian: A bold and perilous artistic endeavor, this musical is also something of a tonal muddle, approaching the material from myriad angles - some serious, some sleazy, some nice, some nasty - which don't ultimately form a persuasive whole...As adapted by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, scored by Duncan Sheik, and directed by Rupert Goold, this is an inarguably stylish undertaking and sometimes an exciting one...Often the production delights, in ways camp and comedic, in the ugly extravagance of the period...Walker, looking like a brilliantined Ken Doll, gives another galvanic turn, communicating the seductiveness, playfulness, and terrible vacancy that define Bateman...So is this satire or psychodrama, monstrous comedy or moral horror? It's all and it's nothing, too.

Joe Dziemianowicz, New York Daily News: With its wicked wit, catchy ear candy and sexy cast, "American Psycho" gives you a killer buzz - for a while. Euphoria sinks once corpses pile up in this glossy new Broadway musical...Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa ("Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark") and composer-lyricist Duncan Sheik (a Tony winner for "Spring Awakening") are mostly faithful to the novel. But they heighten the ironic humor and lessen the graphic violence of both the book and the Christian Bale film...The pace and interest slacken in the second act...Walker ("Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson") hits all the right notes, seemingly without effort...

David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter: Director Rupert Goold, composer Duncan Sheik and book writer Roberta Aguirre-Sacasa crank up the satirical volume on Bret Easton Ellis' cult novel in a musical with design to die for and a cool, period-appropriate electro-pop score... the show is a very sharp, distinctly theatrical treatment of its source material, in many ways improving on Mary Harron's movie version from 2000...Goold and Aguirre-Sacasa have been prudent in toning down the book's perceived misogyny and sexual violence while honing its acerbic portrait of late capitalism in a milieu where surface is everything...Walker is charismatic and commanding, but it's the broken, corrosively conflicted aspects of his characterization that make the performance so hypnotic...Helene Yorke, hilarious as Patrick's aggressively superficial fiancée Evelyn...Alice Ripley...can't do much with the role of Patrick's medicated mother...But Jennifer Damiano finds poignancy in the good-girl part of Patrick's smitten secretary Jean...Still, even with its flaws the musical is a bloody good time.

Terry Teachout, The Wall Street Journal: "American Psycho" is slick, sleek and empty, a one-joke show that drowns its message, such as it is, in red sauce and fake emotion...The book sticks fairly faithfully to Mr. Ellis's original ground plan. Es Devlin's projection-intensive minimalist sets are 100% white, silver and gray, and Duncan Sheik, lately of "Spring Awakening," has written a score consisting almost exclusively of faux-'80s techno-pop songs with parodistic lyrics...Mr. Walker, who was memorably charismatic in "Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson," plays Bateman as a ripped hipster with a plummy radio-announcer voice, which is just right. Ms. Damiano is good, too-you'll actually feel for her character's plight, unlikely as it may sound-and everybody else in the cast does just what they're supposed to do, which usually means being as irritating as possible. Some of Mr. Sheik's songs are quite harmonically fresh...

Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune: ...directed with relentless, sensationalist expediency by Rupert Goold...There is no question that "American Psycho" is a highly unusual Broadway musical. And one that is cleverly self-protected against the aesthetic police. Goold's staging, and Lynne Page's limb-spewing choreography, evidence little in the way of consistency: Goold, whose work is about as a subtle as Bateman's preferred methods of dissection, switches styles in almost every scene..."American Psycho" thus is a smug show that games its audience, much as Bateman games his lovers and victims...The score, by Duncan Sheik, employs a narrow and familiar range of notes...It's a myopic mess, musically...underused Alice Ripley and Helene Yorke...Of course, there's no denying Walker's literate attractions, buoyed by the actor's disciplined determination to take the deepest of narcissistic dives with the full knowledge that truly competitive narcissists never self-promote.

Robert Hofler, The Wrap: Sheik's music gives Bateman a soul. It's the nature of musical theater...Walker emerges as far more tortured than Bale, who becomes a touch more manic...Musicals need more narrative drive than movies, and Walker (with help from Aguirre-Sacasa) supplies it...Es Devlin's set design also provides a marvelous journey...Depending on how you look at "American Psycho," it's either horrifying or a hoot...Goold and his book writer sometimes scrape the bottom.

Jeremy Gerard, Deadline: Unlike Bale, who brought a scary chill to the role, Walker is more of a man-child, his ambition and his malice subdued by a vaguely goofy smile; in his CKs he recalls not so much Jack the Ripper as Tom Cruise in Risky Business...The musical has an awkward book by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa...and Duncan Sheik, who wrote the beautiful score for Spring Awakening and here delivers confident, well-crafted numbers...choreographer is Lynne Page; the dances are the most frightening thing about American Psycho, as the actors contort and distort themselves in jagged, angular paroxysms of stoned lust and raw hunger. I feared the sound of snapping limbs throughout...I no more enjoyed the mass slaughter depicted on stage than I would seeing a dramatization of Jonathan Swift...Aguirre-Sacasa and director Goold (and possibly Walker as well) have conspired to defang Patrick somewhat, embellishing his back story (the great Alice Ripley is wasted playing, among other roles, Bateman's mom) and the possibility of redemption...Didn't do much for me.

Robert Kahn, NBC New York: It's consistently satirical, insistently techno (video projections illustrate the world of protagonist Patrick Bateman) and hyper-raunchy...Alas, there's no drawing blood from a stone. The weak link is Duncan Sheik's inaccessible score, which doesn't come near the level of "Spring Awakening," or his underrated "Whisper House"...we witness a hodgepodge of prosaic production numbers, with surprisingly little gore...Walker's nailed the requisite mix of narcissism, rage and soullessness, even if his Bateman seems a more tender fella than that icicle Christian Bale, from the film...Alice Ripley...deserves better than what she gets here, a one-dimensional part as Patrick's mother...mass killings are routinely reported on our 65-inch flat-screens. This may be why "American Psycho" failed to stir me: The notion that evil lurks where we may not expect to find it isn't shocking anymore.

Matt Windman, amNY: Director Rupert Goold, songwriter Duncan Sheik and book-writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa persuasively capture the designer chic milieu, materialistic attitude and dance club sound of 1980s Manhattan while adding a pervading sense of eerie unease...Benjamin Walker's Bateman brings to mind a Ken doll with a dirty mind and a butcher knife. He captures the character's crisp, cocky demeanor and the lost, twisted psyche underneath the impeccable exterior. The strong cast also includes Heléne Yorke as Bateman's high-strung girlfriend, Jennifer Damiano as his sweet young secretary and Tony winner Alice Ripley as his heavily medicated mother...Notwithstanding all this, the piece has serious structural problems...It also ends on an unapologetically depressing note.

Charles McNulty, LA Times: The emptiness at the heart of "American Psycho" is the source of both its originality and its eventual tediousness. What succeeds as satiric comedy falters when the mood turns more serious. But when the show works, it does so with tremendous flair. This isn't another "Sweeney Todd," but its sharp style lifts it above the mercenary rung of most musicals spun from pop cultural ephemera.

Robert Feldberg, Bergen Record: With its stark black and white design, projections, flashing lights and pounding music, "American Psycho" is insistently modish, and Goold, who staged a memorably headlong production of "Macbeth" with Patrick Stewart several years ago, is certainly a dynamic director. But while heartless flash might be the perfect style for depicting the empty '80s, it doesn't make for a very fulfilling 2 1/2 hours in the theater.

David Finkle, Huffington Post: That depends on what you're in the mood for. If topping your list of requirements is a stunning enterprise, you're advised to speed yourself-not necessarily on speed-to the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, where Es Devlin has constructed a sleek white-and-grey set that instantly announces the film-noirish treatment director Rupert Goold has committed to make of Bret Easton Ellis's 1991 American Psychonovel.

Christopher Kelly, NJ.com: And the show anchored by a tour-de-force, star-is-born performance by Walker, whose Patrick is much more human and oddly endearing than either Christian Bale's smirky, scenery-chewing version in the 2000 film adaptation, or Ellis' wholly vile original creation. "American Psycho" still has ice in its veins - Patrick spews his venom at gays, women and pretty much anyone who didn't go to Harvard - but Walker (best known for "Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson" and the film "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter") also allows you to feel the faint stirrings of a beating heart within. He makes the convincing case that Patrick is as much a victim in this story as the people he brutalizes.

Peter Marks, Washington Post: "American Psycho" creates another sub-genre - ersatz horror - an odd variation that fails to tingle your spine with its copious bloodletting or titillate you via the writhing bodies in its mechanical sex scenes (complete with pornographic video illustrations). Director Rupert Goold's shiny production, churning vapidly to the beat of composer Duncan Sheik's surprisingly clunky, characterless songs, charts the homicidal rampage of Patrick (Benjamin Walker) through the cash-engorged precincts of the Manhattan of the decadent '80s; Es Devlin's eye-catchingly sleek sets are the production's best asset. And then, in an odd departure from the novel, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa's script pulls the blood-soaked rug out from under us, with the suggestion of a Patrick reborn, as a better man.

Photo by Jeremy Daniel


Featured at the Theatre Shop

T-Shirts, Mugs, Phone Cases & More
Branded Broadway Merch
Related Articles

From This Author Review Roundups