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Broadway by way of Bon Jovi 4 October 2003
David Bryan article


Rock stars aren't used to day jobs. Their lifestyle is really more big-picture than that, absent of mundane details. That could be why Bon Jovi's David Bryan has discovered his 'round-the-clock efforts to ready the rock 'n' roll musical "Memphis" for its world premiere at the North Shore Music Theatre feels an awful lot like work.

"It's probably been the most creative, long ... It's like a job," he told reporters of his musical theater debut during a sneak peak at day nine of rehearsals, one week before opening night.

"I called my wife and said there are like 100 people here, wow!" he says, referring to the masses working behind the scenes designing sets and costumes for the numbers he has composed.

It wasn't difficult to pick Bryan and his L.A. looks out of a crowd earlier this month as the show's hard-working performers triple-threat their hearts out before the creators, directors, producers and a slew of press.

The crowd leaned in as the kinky-haired Bryan relayed stories of band tours in Capri, Italy and the usual thought process behind his prolific rock song writing craft.

As a founding member and keyboard player of the band named for lead singer-turned-actor Jon Bon Jovi, Bryan brings his star power and rock roots not only to the show, but to the entire room.

"I love to perform. I love to create," says the rocker, his silky shirt buttoned low to reveal a tattooed chest.

Though there are many seats to fill during the show's three-week run, Bryan says he can take the heat. People once said his band was a "smudgy third generation copy of Quiet Riot," he says. Not bad for a group that has sold 95 million albums and played to millions in more than 50 countries for almost 20 years.

"We're the band critics love to hate," he laughs.

Regardless of how much love the North Shore showers on the collaboration, written by Joe DiPietro - creator of the perennially popular "I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change" - Bryan, DiPietro, the theater's people and others feel they have a feel-good show "with legs."

"This show will live on beyond this theater," says its director, Gabriel Barre, even if not on Broadway, where the cost of producing shows is getting prohibitive.

"The stakes are so high at this point that everyone is at the top of their game," says associate producer John La Rock.

But it's not all labor worthy of the salt mines. When not working on their game, it's rumored the entire production has been blowing off some dramatic steam at the Wild Horse on Route 1A.


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