Joe DiPietro's Post-Tony Demusicalized Period

PlayBlog   Joe DiPietro's Post-Tony Demusicalized Period
 
When Joe DiPietro picked up his pair of Tonys last month for writing the book and lyrics to Memphis, he was already starting to assert his nonmusical past.


New Jersey's George Street Playhouse just finished up a world-premiere month’s run of his Creating Claire, a dramedy mixing religion and autism. (Celia Keenan-Bolger, Barbara Walsh, Michael Countryman and Lynn Cohen sorted it all out in that production.) “I hope that this play will have a future life,” he says.

Then there is F**king Men, his spin on La Ronde with contemporary gay men from all strata of society mixing it up. It was a success in Los Angeles and London and is currently getting a Bailiwick Chicago production through Aug. 8.

Three days later, at San Diego’s Old Globe, he starts previewing a senior-citizen comedy called The Last Romance with Marion Ross, Paul Michael, Patricia Conolly and Joshua Jeremiah. Nary a musical note to be found in any of the above.

But, like another Italian who once anguished, “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in,” DiPietro finds himself on the brink of a musical relapse — albeit, as a book writer exclusively — for a Garden of Eden tuner opening July 15 at the York.

He leaves the lyrics (for Bret Simmons’ music) to David Howard and just overhauls Howard’s source play. Indicative of the DiPietro input: the title evolved from Adam Alone to the interim Me and Eve to the keeper Falling for Eve.

“I just took the play and did a whole different take on it. They’d already written several songs so I had the idea of the play and the songs. There were many more characters in the play, and I sorta said, ‘This is a small musical. Boil it down.’ We took the songs they had — we threw out a couple, added some — and just started.”

All of the above will keep DiPietro busy while his Tony-winning Memphis composer and collaborator, David Bryan, tours with Bon Jovi and, in August, gets married. Then, the two will come together and finish the final third of Chasing the Song, their original musical about the Brill Building before The Beatles.

— Harry Haun

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