EXCLUSIVE: Gary Lennon has signed on to write the book for a new untitled stage musical informed by the professional and personal accomplishments of rock stars Pat Benatar and her guitarist/husband Neil Giraldo. The musical, which will be produced by Jamie Cesa (Pippin and Carrie Fisher’s Wishful Drinking), has its eye on a 2017 Broadway run. Lennon is the Emmy-nominated writer-producer and Peabody- and PGA Award-winning writer whose credits include the Starz series Power, Orange Is the New Black, Justified and The Shield. Lennon recently sold the film rights to his new play, Change, to Sidney Kimmel Entertainment, and his other plays include Blackout, The Interlopers and A Family Thing.
The rock ‘n’ roll musical love story will chronicle the ups and downs of the dynamic couple who soared to the top of the charts at the height of MTV with songs that included “Hit Me With Your Best Shot,” “Heartbreaker,” “We Belong” and Love Is a Battlefield.” Giraldo was her lead guitarist, and they fell in love and are still married and continue to tour. Benatar grew up in Lindenhurst, Long Island (I lived there for 15 years, and the stories of her vocal exploits in school plays were inescapable), and she became a style icon with the distinction of being the first female on MTV and the only artist to have won the Grammy for Best Female Rock Vocalist for four consecutive years.
Its architects say the musical will be fast paced, hard-hitting and heartbreaking, just like the lives from which it is inspired and the era. It follows in the footsteps of Jersey Boys, Rock of Ages and On Your Feet, the latter the story of Gloria and Emilio Estefan, other hit shows powered by iconic musical tunes. Lennon’s deal was brokered by CAA, and he is also repped by Dan Halsted at Manage-ment and attorney Craig Emanuel of Loeb & Loeb.