EXCLUSIVE: Memphis Writers DiPietro and Bryan Working on New Musical Chasing the Song

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30 Apr 2010

David Bryan and Joe DiPietro
David Bryan and Joe DiPietro
Aubrey Reuben
Memphis writers Joe DiPietro and David Bryan are at work on their next musical project, which will be an original show exploring the changing sound of the music charts in the early 1960s. DiPietro is also working on an Old Testament-inspired musical.

The duo, who also penned The Toxic Avenger, are in the midst of writing the musical under the working title Chasing the Song, which is "about songwriters in the early 1960s at the time period prior to the Beatles emerging and changing everything," DiPietro told Playbill.com. Lyricist-librettist DiPietro said he and composer Bryan are crafting the piece as a Broadway musical that would accommodate 15-20 cast members.

Chasing the Song is set against the backdrop of the Brill Building, the iconic Manhattan building that has served as a headquarters for music publishers, labels and agencies since the big band era. The phrase "The Brill Building Sound" was coined in response to the number of hits that came out of the location, including songs by Lieber and Stoller, Carole King, Burt Bacharach and Hal David, Connie Francis, Bobbie Darin and Neil Sedaka.

"In 1964, the Beatles had the top five singles in the country, which had never happened before. It changed the entire business," DiPietro said. "The people in the Brill Building were creating the pop music of the day, and suddenly, like anything in the entertainment business, they had to adapt or die. People wanted British and wanted bands to write their own songs."

DiPietro also revealed plans for the musical Falling for Eve, which will debut at the York Theatre Company's Off-Broadway home this summer under the direction of Larry Raben. DiPietro authored the book to the musical (once called Me & Eve) that has a score by Brett Simmons (music) and David Howard (lyrics). The six-person, multicultural musical is a re-telling of the Adam and Eve story.



DiPietro explained, "The essential plot point is that Eve bites the apple and Adam doesn't. So, Eve is thrust into the real world and Adam stays in paradise. It's sort of told in all-time and no-time."

Beowulf Boritt will design the set for the tuner that has a "contemporary theatrical pop score," DiPietro said.

In addition to his musical projects, which also includes a film adaptation of Memphis, DiPietro's plays are being produced across the U.S. this season.

New Jersey's George Street Playhouse, which premiered The Toxic Avenger prior to its Off-Broadway bow, will stage DiPietro's Creating Claire. As previously reported, Sandy Duncan, Lynn Cohen, Michael Countryman and Celia Keenan-Bolger will star in the play about science and faith, May 11-June 6.

DiPietro's F**cking Men, a gay twist on La Ronde, will play Chicago's Bailiwick Theatre this summer beginning June 18. The work has enjoyed successful runs in Los Angeles and London. DiPietro will be involved in casting and rehearsals for the production, which will represent a final version of the script.

San Diego's Old Globe will present the West Coast premiere of The Last Romance, a new play DiPietro penned for Marion Ross and her partner Paul Michael. Richard Seer will direct the production that runs July 30-Sept. 5.