The ‘American Psycho’ Musical Is Happening Whether You Like It or Not

Duncan Sheik, the ’90s singer-songwriter ("Barely Breathing," in case you needed a reminder or, more likely, a name attached to that song), won two Tony Awards for his work on the sexy German schoolchildren musical Spring Awakening a few years ago. And he’s trying his hand at musical theater once again, this time with an adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’s modern classic, American Psycho. The musical will hit the London stage later this year, and hopefully will get a run on Broadway.

Gothamist talked to Sheik about his work on the show, which sounds a lot more promising than one might imagine:

The music is all electronic. You know, the conception of it, at least on my end… I kind of feel like, you have Broadway musicals, and you have the sound of the Broadway musicial—Les MisPhantom of the OperaCats—and then in some way there was a transition away from that. Spring Awakening [which Sheik scored and won a Tony for] happened, you had American IdiotNext To NormalMemphis… this whole set of things using more contemporary, guitar-oriented rock music. For me, I feel that’s a shark that’s been jumped. So the idea of doing a score that’s completely electronic, that’s exciting to me. You’re being progressive about the form, you know, rather than saying, ‘Well people like listening to rock music now in the theater.’ That’s not so interesting to me… it’s really important that you do new stuff. I want to attempt to do stuff that’s moving it forward. As opposed to repeating a successful formula.

At first, I thought, "Oh, no one should ever compare their musical theater ambitions to those who were responsible for Cats, Phantom, or Memphis, but I have to say: an electronic music-focused musical sounds pretty awesome, especially given the subject matter of the show. Oh, and don’t worry; Sheik promises a little Huey Lewis and Phil Collins in there, too. 

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Callin’ Oates, Bob Dialin’, and Phil Call-Ins: Easing Your Day With One Easy Phone Call

Last year, two cool dudes named Michael Selvidge and Reid Butler created what is possibly the best invention in the history of humans: a phone number you can call to hear songs by Hall & Oates. Using Twilio, the Callin’ Oates helpline went viral and soothed the ears of many who were having rough days, stressful nights, or just needed a quick sonic reminder that Hall & Oates could make any dire situation a little less upsetting. Today, on the one-year anniversary of Callin’ Oates, Twilio announces new songs on the Callin’ Oates helpline, as well as four new ways to ease your weary soul with the sounds of Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Chicago, and Phil Collins.

From Twilio’s website

New: Bob Dialin’ (Bob Dylan Helpline) – +1 (615) DYLAN – 26
Did you forget how if feels to be on your own, with no direction home? Do you need shelter from the Bob Dylan-less storm? Don’t think twice, call Bob Dialin’ to hear your favorite Bob Dylan tunes.
Press #1 for “Like A Rolling Stone”
Press #2 for “Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright”
Press #3 for “Shelter From The Storm”
Press #4 for “I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight”

New: Diamond Rings (Neil Diamond Helpline) – +1 (424) 543 – NEIL
Hankering for some Neil? Play it now, play it now, play it now my baby… Here’s what Diamond Rings has to offer.
Press #1 for “Cracklin’ Rosie”
Press #2 for “Sweet Caroline”
Press #3 for “Crunchy Granola Suite”
Press #4 for “Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show”

New: Phil Call-ins (Phil Collins Helpline) – +1 (424) 888 – PHIL
Whether you need to hear that iconic drum fill on “In The Air Tonight” in a pinch, or just figure out what exactly Phil Collins is saying on “Sussudio,” you can count on Phil Call-ins.
Press #1 for “Easy Lover”
Press #2 for “Against All Odds”
Press #3 for “In The Air Tonight”
Press #4 for “Sussudio”

New: If You Ring Me Now (Chicago Helpline) – +1 (34724) 25 (or) 624
Saving If You Ring Me Now in your contacts is almost as good as having Peter Cetera’s cell number. Just give it a call to hear your favorite Chicago songs.
Press #1 for “25 or 6 to 4”
Press #2 for “Saturday In The Park”
Press #3 for “Old Days”
Press #4 for “Baby, What A Big Surprise”

Updated: Callin’ Oates (Hall and Oates Helpline) – (719)-26-OATES
Dial in to the hotline that started the whole viral sensation and let Hall & Oates take you away to a ‘70s to early ‘80s dreamland. With all new classics and even a B-side or two.
Press #1 for “When The Morning Comes”
Press #2 for “You Make My Dreams”
Press #3 for “Everytime You Go Away”
Press #4 for “Say It Isn’t So”
Press #5 for “Had I Known You Better Then”
Press #6 for “Adult Education”
Press #7 for “Out Of Touch”
Press #8 for “Go Solo”

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be hitting redial on that Chicago helpline for the rest of the day.

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Uncovering The Secrets Behind Broadway’s Bad Boy Hit ‘Rock of Ages’

Every rose has its thorn, every town has its rebel, and when it comes to the Great White Way, Rock of Ages is it. Flanked with a panties-covered set, a cast with amazingly toned abs, and a score full of the best ‘80s songs, this powerhouse Broadway musical defies the conventional stay-in-your-seat theatergoing experience, and transforms it into a sex-soaked rock concert that melds sincerity with parody; beer and shots are proffered in the aisles, rock posters dress the walls, and audience revelry is encouraged and inevitable. This bad boy breaks the rules, and it’s working; in its fourth year, Rock of Ages is selling better than ever. This month, it served its one-millionth customer, and has consistently been one of Broadway’s top 10 most-attended shows this year.

Of course, there are questions: How? Why? What is its mystical secret?

I sat down with two stars of the show to try to unlock these very questions: Jeremy Woodard – who plays Stacee Jaxx, the near-washed up, wild rock star – and Justin Matthew Sargent, who plays Drew, the aspiring rock star.

Apart from the music, what do you think people love about this show?
Jeremy Woodard: There’s something nostalgic about the ‘80s. Seeing as the economy is where it’s at, this show lets you just kick back and enjoy. There’s no drama – everything is said in jest. And when things are bad out there, you need to laugh a lot.
Justin Matthew Sargent: The story, too. It’s not your usual rags-to-riches tale. The characters start with a dream, until they realize the reality of it and that it’s not the kind of life they want to lead. They reevaluate and find new dreams in it all.
JW: The show doesn’t take itself too seriously. At all.

Unlike other jukebox musicals that stick to just one band’s music, Rock of Ages features the songs from a bunch of different ‘80s artists – Poison, Twisted Sister, Journey –  attracting all the fans that come with them. That’s a pretty brilliant, commercial concept.
JMS: Oh, totally.The fans go nuts for this show. It’s all built-in. And even though it’s ‘80s rock music and a niche kind of thing, you have a lot of versatility – you’ve got your power ballads, your songs that kick ass, sweet songs like “Every Rose Has Its Thorn.” There are so many different genres that make up ‘80s rock. And the coolest thing is when the people from those bands come to see the show.

What rock stars have been in the audience?
JMS: We’ve had Journey come to see the show, Phil Collins. We had Dee Snider in the show for a little while, and he’s just the nicest. I was such a big fan of his before we worked with him, and still am.

Jeremy, since you play Stacee Jaxx, the magnetic, women-obsessed rocker, do you receive any crazy emails, dirty underwear, etc. from fans?
JW: Thankfully, no dirty underwear. When I had Facebook, I used to get crazy messages that crossed the line, so I bowed out. There hasn’t been anyone that’s been scary. We sometimes get weird letters, but the girls get stuff more than we do.
JMS: Fans make us food all the time though – lots of cookies. They’ve also made real dolls out of us.
JW: Early on, our original Stacee – James Carpinello – had a lady come out and ask him to sign her shoulder as Stacee Jaxx, and then she got it tattooed afterward. She still comes around every now and then. That’s the craziest thing I’ve ever seen.

What a souvenir. I’ve heard there are fans that have seen this show over 250 times.
JW: Oh yeah. I ask people sometimes how they can afford to see it that often. I like Krispy Kreme, but I don’t think I can eat that many donuts.

Rock of Ages