Eddie Money Polishing 'Paradise' Musical

Eddie Money Polishing 'Paradise' Musical
Eddie Money says his autobiographical stage musical, "Two Tickets to Paradise," was "a lot more fun when it was a hobby. Now it's a job."

That's because the production -- which traces Money's life from his decision to leave the New York police force and head to California for rock'n'roll stardom -- is set to premiere June 4-14 at the Dix Hills Performing Arts Center at Five Towns College on Long Island. The show is built around hits from Money's 15 albums, as well as six new pieces he wrote for what director/playwright John Blenn calls "bridges" between scenes.

"It's a really cool thing," Money tells Billboard.com. "We've been auditioning dancers (and) actors, building sets. It's starting to get there. The whole thing is overwhelming; every time I get insecure, which is often, I look over at John Blenn and he tells me it'll all work out."

Blenn says the production "does have a dance element to it, but it's a story. It's different than (the Billy Joel-Twyla Tharp ballet) 'Movin' Out;' there are dancers and songs, but it does have a narrative arc, which I think is very important to the quality of it."

Money will narrate the premiere performances in June, while the singer will be played by teen actor Jesse Kinch, who actually attends Money's old high school and, according to Blenn, is "a musical prodigy who's been playing clubs since age eight."

Blenn adds that the initial run is designed to "take the next step towards Broadway. A lot of producers are coming in to look at it at this point." Money, however, is cautious about the prospects of the Great White Way. "Broadway is doing so bad now," he notes. "They closed 'Spamalot.' They closed 'Young Frankenstein.' It's a scary time to be working on a new play, y'know?"

At least he still has his music to fall back on. Money continues to tour, and he plans to release an album featuring country versions of his hits that he recorded last year in Nashville with John Ford Coley and a guest appearance by Vince Gill. "They want me to come back down and finish the record," Money reports. "The stuff sounds really good. We just have to tweak some of it, polish it up, and then get it out there."