I’ve been talking with a transplant from New York looking to tell his story on the stage, and I put together a pitch for him to use to attract a scriptwriter. It’s a blast to hear him talk about it – Bronx accent and all – and I told him I want to write the novel when the time comes. Let me know what you think:
Philly: An Eighties Rock Musical
(Based on the true story of a New York band that almost made it big.)
It’s 1980, and Johnny Cal has what it takes to be a rock star, if he could just scrape together a band and a couple hundred bucks to record a demo. Fortunately, his family’s butcher shop in the Bronx has what he needs, which is a neighborhood full of characters Johnny can either seduce or fast talk into helping him. He finds them, from the brassy, delightfully coarse background-singer-turned-lead, Phyllis (Philly) Scarpetti; to Vinnie, the cab driver who wants to play guitar; to Erwin Getz, notorious mob collector who decides Johnny has “karma” and deserves the big break he can provide.
Driven by youthful passion, desperation and a whole lot of heart, Philly gets its breaks, winning supporters, a battle of the bands contest, and, eventually, a contract with Atlantic Records. All along the way, band members navigate the personal challenges that come with being young and starting out with nothing. And when all hope is lost, each abandons the dreams that Philly gave them to find that, just maybe, there’s life after failure.
Philly combines the social and cultural relevance of “Rent” with the pop culture appeal of “Mama Mia” to deliver a powerful, poignant drama that will resonate with anyone who’s survived the manic compulsion to go for broke. The play currently needs a scriptwriter to knit the story together for the stage, and will eventually need production support. All songs and recordings – featuring the original Philly – are in inventory.