Theatre Thursdays: The Doctor’s a Psycho

la-et-cm-american-psycho-musical-matt-smith-of-001Let’s talk about Matt Smith. Don’t you just love those words? In case you read this blog and you don’t know who Matt Smith is (in which case I’m very confused about who you are), he is the actor who plays The Eleventh Doctor in the long-running BBC scifi show Doctor Who. He’s quite talented, to say nothing of his boyish good looks and impeccable hair on camera (swoon!). He’s also recently filmed the last of the episodes in which he will play the Doctor. It is the end of an era, as he passes the torch he received from David Tennant to Peter Capaldi.

While you might know him primarily as the Doctor, the BAFTA award-winning Smith has also done a fair amount of stage-acting. 2005 saw him perform as the outspoken young student Lockwood in The History Boys at the Royal National Theatre. In 2007, Smith played Henry in the Polly Stenham play That Face (which is a must-see), and was nominated for an Olivier Award. As a matter of fact, Matt Smith will be leaving the silver screen, if only momentarily, to return to his theatre roots… as a sadistic serial murderer.

Rupert Goold

Rupert Goold

Smith will take up the role of Patrick Bateman, the titular antihero of the novel “American Psycho”, in Rupert Goold’s London production of an eponymous musical. Something about imagining Matt Smith sing his way through emotional manipulations and a series of violent murders is darkly comical, and exciting, though I’m not sure how else to feel about it. By the time the last episode featuring the Eleventh Doctor airs, Smith will be well into his melodic axe-murdering, as the official run lasts from December 12th to January 25th at the Almeida Theatre, with previews as early as December 3rd.

Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa

Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa

While I’m certain that Smith is the biggest name attached to this production, further reading of the billing will reveal some other familiar names, like Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, charged with transforming Ellis’s novel into a play. The author and playwright has turned his pen to Glee and the Broadway production of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, to say nothing of his extensive work at Marvel Comics on titles like Loki, Secret Invasion, Marvel Knights, Nightcrawler, and The Sensational Spider-Man. His plays have earned him GLAAD Media Award nominations, The Excellence in Playwriting Award from the New York International Fringe Festival, and a Harvey Award for Marvel Knights Four. The music for this “American Psycho” production was written by one Duncan Sheik, who also wrote music for the Tony Award-winning Spring Awakening.

The production will certainly not lack for talent, but I am left to wonder what tone this production will use to address the rather violent content of the novel, and how it will compare to the 2000 film which starred Christian Bale. I predict that we’ll get our own opportunity to evaluate it. Should the musical be well-reviewed and well-received, surely having its viewership boosted by Smith’s popularity, it could soon make its way across the pond.

Theatre Thursdays: Bullets Over Broadway

zach_braff (1)Huffpo has it, that Zach Braff will make his Broadway debut in 2014 in Bullets Over Broadway, a stage adaptation of Woody Allen’s 1994 crime comedy film.  Braff will play the role played in 1994 by John Cusack, that of David Shayne, an idealistic young playwright who hires a talentless actress to gain mob funding for his new show. He finds himself lying and cheating, morally compromised, and unprepared for what it means to be a Broadway neophyte, all while working toward his big open.

If you haven’t see the film, see it. It is as funny and witty as you would expect from Allen, with quality performances from Mary-Louise Parker, Dianne Wiest (who won an Oscar for her performance), and Rob Reiner, among others. It’s actually probably the best thing that Allen wrote or directed in the nineties.

Susan_Stroman (1)

I think that scene best illustrates the point I want to make is that as funny as it was on film, the nature of the writing is such that Bullets Over Broadway has the genuine potential to be an even better play, and that’s no mean trick. But I think that it could happen. The show will be directed by Susan Stroman, who has five Tonys strapped under her dancebelt, four for choreography and one for directing The Producers, whose six-year Broadway run opened in 2001 at the St. James Theatre.

Braff and the rest of the cast will similarly open at the St. James on March 11, 2014. I’m looking forward to Braff’s performance in particular, as the jump from film to the Broadway spotlight has always piqued my interest. For example, when James Bond (Daniel Craig) and Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) were cast in A Steady Rain, I dutifully bought tickets and watched as the two of them revealed largely unknown acting talents. Wolverine, for example, earned himself a 2004 Tony for Leading Actor in a Musical for The Boy From OzCraig, for his part, has starred at the Old Vic, The Royal Court Theatre, and the National Theatre, and so is not without experience or pedigree. And they are not above heckling you if you let your phone ring

But, back to my point, Braff isn’t without his own theatrical talent. Braff was active in the New York theatre scene, acting at the Public Theatre in 2002, and he was onstage at the Second Stage Theatre as recently as 2010. He has also written a play, All New Peoplethat has toured all over the UK, including Manchester and Glasgow. He’s got all the necessary chops to jump back into acting and make his Broadway debut. You can’t see it, but I’m squealing like a little girl.

So, to sum: Zach Braff. Woody Allen. St James Theatre. March 2014. Fabulous. See you there!