NEW YORK – Billy Joel (search), whose hit parade has been put to splendid use in Movin' Out, is ready to try his hand at writing a Broadway musical from scratch.
For his subject, he's following the old adage, "Write what you know."
In his case, it's the music business, from the 1970s to the 1990s.
The project is still in its early stages, but Joel has been discussing it in detail with James Nederlander Jr (search)., his close friend and the producer of "Movin' Out."
Joel will draw on his own experiences to craft a story about a rock singer's struggle to survive and prosper in the rough-and-tumble New York music scene, though the show is not going to be strictly autobiographical.
Joel is casting about for a book writer and would do well to find someone who shares his rather jaundiced view of the music business.
Whoever that turns out to be should read Hit Men, Frederic Dannen's (search) compelling history of the music business in the '70s and '80s.
That book is a catalog of colorful, larger-than-life promoters and impresarios who could easily be used as models for characters - Clive Davis, Walter Yentikoff, Dick Asher, David Geffen, plus an array of lesser-known Billboard Max Bialystocks.
Mobsters, payola, drugs, sex -- there's plenty of material here for a tough, dramatic musical.
Being the opening act on the Tony telecast seems to be almost as valuable as winning the award for Best Musical.
Movin' Out -- which kicked off the telecast -- sold $350,000 worth of tickets the day after the show.
And in the past week, the show has posted average daily wraps of $250,000.
Hairspray, which won the award for Best Musical, took in $550,000 and continues to rack up daily ticket sales of between $400,000 and $500,000.