Magazine article Variety

'Million Dollar' Man Keeps Jukebox Humming

Magazine article Variety

'Million Dollar' Man Keeps Jukebox Humming

Article excerpt

At the age of 71, "Million Dollar Quartet" playwright Floyd Mutrux is still churning out ideas. His next show, "Boy From New York City," is focused on I he life of record label maven George Goldner. A show featuring the music of Fats Domino is in the works. And a Las Vegas project that will allow him to rotate in his various jukebox musical titles is in the planning stages. "Sometimes," the loquacious Mutrux allowed in a recent interview, "I have too many ideas."

Perhaps. But a surprising number of Mutrux's ideas seem to pan out, albeit with some complexity in the execution.

Currently touring the U.S. - and sitting down in New York, London and Chicago - is "Million Dollar Quartet," a hit show that devolved into disagreements between Mutrux, who came up with the idea of doing a show about Sun Records and its stable of young stars, and Gigi Pritzker and Ted Rawlins, who eventually produced the show on Broadway. The show has done so well (Asia is next), that everyone seems to have put those disagreements behind them now. "Floyd has a thought a moment," Pritzker says dryly "But he really put a lot of meat on the bones of 'Million Dollar Quartet.' "

In September at the Pasadena Playhouse, Mutrux - who began his career in Hollywood back in 1971 as a screenwriter, before moving into directing and producing - will open "Boy From New York City," another jukebox musica] (directed by wife Birgitte), on the life of Goldner, who owned several record labels between the 1940s and the 1970s, and who worked with the likes of the Shangri-Las, the Isley Brothers and Little Richard. "He had a ton of hits and was this great-looking, entrepreneurial guy," Mutrux says. "And he had a fabulous love affair with a Puerto Rican hat-check girl."

His current plan is to open an "American Pop Theater" at a Las Vegas casino. "We're going to have a permanent theater on the Strip doing shows about American pop," he says. "Million Dollar Quartet" could play there. So could "Boy From New York City." So, he says, could his 201 1 Shirelles show, "Baby It's You," even though it did not do well on Broadway. Mutrux dismisses the lousy reception afforded "Baby" ("The show was not ready to open until at least the second week, and "Spider-Man" was getting all the ink," he says) and is full .steam ahead on a potential road company f< u the title, which celebrates such Shirelles hits as "I Met Him on a Sunday. …

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