Tony Award winner Joe DiPietro knows what he likes. He loves rock, and he loves theatre. Put those two together in the form of a rock musical, throw in some quirky comedy, and you have one happy creative artist. Best known for winning two Tonys for Memphis (bookwriter and score/lyrics), DiPietro simply loves writing.
As a kid, he won a writing contest for Scholastic Magazine while in school, and the young DiPietro had found his niche. “It put the notion in my head, ‘Maybe I can do this,’ which is very valuable to a young person. In college, I was an English major, but I didn’t quite know what I wanted to do. I was maybe gonna go to law school; but I always liked to write, and I always did that on the side. When I got out of college, I got a job working in advertising, writing copy. At night, I would write plays, and I wrote for a long time, but no one cared. I was young and sent them out and got tons of rejections back.”
DiPietro is also the comedic scribe behind I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change and Nice Work If You Can Get It.
The art of writing is an open door, revealing the writer’s most private thoughts. “It’s stripping yourself naked,” says DiPietro. “Writing is so personal. I always say every character is me and none of the characters is me.” Yet, he puts a boundary between himself and critics. “I’ve never been worried about what people think of my work. I think if I did, it would paralyze me. I know how to write for a show I want to see — and I have very eclectic tastes; but I don’t know how to write for a show that the general audiences wants to see. Every time you write for an audience, you start to lose that audience,” he adds.
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