With deference to James Brown, Elton John may be the hardest-working man in show business. In addition to his ongoing touring schedule and engagement in Las Vegas, John is working on a number of proje

With deference to James Brown, Elton John may be the hardest-working man in show business. In addition to his ongoing touring schedule and his "The Red Piano" engagement in Las Vegas, John is working on a number of projects, highlighted by a new studio album to be released in 2007.

For that project, he and longtime songwriting partner Bernie Taupin are writing a sequel to "Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy" called "Captain Fantastic and the Kid." The first edition, released in 1975, covered the pair's first 30 years; the second will cover the subsequent 30 years and will come out March 20, 2007, five days before John's 60th birthday.

"I'm starting writing and recording it in Atlanta in January," John tells Billboard. "It was [Sanctuary Group CEO Merck Mercuriadis'] idea, because he said, 'You're always saying how Bernie has become the Brown Dirt Cowboy' -- he lives on a ranch in Santa Ynez [Calif.] -- and I'm this guy who plays concert after concert, buying art, buying photographs, living a very lavish lifestyle. I've become Captain Fantastic."

"We would have been together then about 40 years by the time it comes out," John continues. "One of the things I'm most proud of in my life is the relationship I've had with Bernie."

Beforehand, John will on Nov. 8 release "Elton's Christmas Party" exclusively through Starbucks. The disc will include previously released holiday-themed songs from other artists, plus a new duet between John and Joss Stone. A $2 donation from each album will go to the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

And while "Billy Elliot," a musical written by John and Lee Hall, continues playing on London's West End (a Broadway opening is planned for 2006), the John/Taupin-penned musical "Lestat" is scheduled to debut in December at San Francisco's Curran Theater. The project is based on Anne Rice's "Vampire Lestat" series.

As previously reported, John has a development deal with Touchstone Television for a sitcom about a rock star and his entourage. "Sex & the City" scribe Cindy Chupack is writing the pilot.

Meanwhile, last March, John wrote nine songs with Scissor Sisters for possible inclusion on their next album, marking the first time he had ever written in the same room with someone.

"You know, I'm 15 years sober today," says John when asked how he finds time for all these projects. "That's changed my life. The energy that I used to spend doing drugs and everything, I spend doing great things, like getting up in the morning, going to Tower Records, trying to find new acts, trying to promote them. I have the most fantastic life. I really love it so much."