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The Eddie Money Story

By on January 30, 2018
Eddie Money and the cast of "Two Tickets to Paradise: The Eddie Money Musical."

Eddie Money and the cast of "Two Tickets to Paradise: The Eddie Money Musical."

Singer, songwriter, musician, playwright, entertainer, extraordinary talents and Eddie Money has them all. Eddie Money created, and will star in, a new musical “Two Tickets to Paradise: The Eddie Money Musical.” The world premier will be held at the Kodak Center, February 14-18, featuring a full orchestra, the Eddie Money band, and a cast of twenty professional actors who dance and sing his life story.

The musical is about Eddie Money’s life at a time when the world was changing in the late 1960s when a young man’s choices weren’t always what his dreams were.

Eddie Money was born Edward Joseph Mahoney, on March 21, 1947 in Brooklyn, New York. Eddie dreamed of being a musician and played in rock bands while in high school. His brother was serving in Vietnam and that was not where he wanted to be after graduation. The band he was in was going out to California, and they wanted him to go with them. His parents wanted him to pursue a career in law enforcement, and follow in his father’s footsteps. He listened to his parents and became a member of the New York City Police Department, knowing that his real dream was to go to California. After working two years for the New York City Police Department, and many requests from his friends to come to California, he left law enforcement to follow his heart into the music career that he always wanted.

He moved to Berkeley, California and began performing in local clubs. He and the band eventually split up, and Money went in another direction with his music. He changed his surname from Mahoney to Money and was discovered by legendary rock promoter Bill Graham who made famous the Fillmore and Winterland Arena rock venues where rock bands like the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane and Janis Joplin had their proving grounds. Graham saw him performing at his “Sounds of the City” event. Graham became “like a father” to Money and said, “Eddie Money has it all…not only can he sing, write and play, but he is a natural performer.” He got his first record deal with Columbia Records, at age 26 with the help of Graham. Graham was also the one that advised Money about the importance of MTV to his career and encouraged him to produce high quality music videos.

Money has always loved music and his love of Broadway started when he was young. His parents went to musicals, such as: “Annie Get Your Gun,” “Carousel” and “Oklahoma.” And brought home the music soundtrack albums from the plays. Eddie and his sisters listened to the albums and sang along with the songs.

As an adult Money saw “Jersey Boys” on Broadway. He thought that the musical was fantastic. He saw the similarities between the musicians in “Jersey Boys” and his own band. The music was different but the friendship and charisma was very similar. He was sure he could do something like “Jersey Boys” but with his life, his band and his music. When writing the musical Money said, “You can’t lie to yourself, you have to be honest.” Money also said, “I am more than rock n’ roll and I want people to hear this side of me.” He wrote the Broadway-style songs that will be performed in the play along with some of his biggest hits, “Two Tickets to Paradise,” “Baby Hold On,” “I Wanna Go Back,” “Shakin,””No Control” and “Take Me Home Tonight.”

The play is being presented by Rochester Association of Performing Arts (RAPA) along with Eddie Money Entertainment Inc. and Premier Theater Productions. Eddie Money and John Campbell, Executive Producer for Eddie Money, approached RAPA to bring the musical to Rochester and were excited with the positive response they were given. The musical is under the artistic direction and vision of Eric Vaughn Johnson, Business Manager and Program Director for RAPA. The three men collaborated on the auditions and picked the cast for the production. All of the actors were chosen based on the knowledge that they are committing to a 10-week multi-state tour of the play beginning in the month of March. Johnson said, “What is inspiring about this cast is that we have members as young as nine to veteran adults, they are a cohesive unit that work together and are passionate about this production, which helps with the creative process.”

Cast members portray Eddie Money, his parents, sisters, high school bandmates, friends, manager and wife. Alec Nevin leads the cast, as the young Eddie Money. Morgan Troia plays Eddie’s wife Laurie, Dresden Engle plays Eddie’s mother Dottie and Steve Vaughan plays Eddie’s father Dan. Eddie Money narrates the play and performs some of his songs at the conclusion of the play.

Johnson said, “The music is unique and specific to this production, all of the music needed to be adapted Broadway-style.” The music and vocal director is Yunjin Kim, and the choreographer is Terri Filips. Johnson, Kim and Jonathan Allentoff have been working on the score for the play since the summer. Kim enhanced the music which had to be written for specific instruments within the orchestra, so that all of the instruments flow together, and marrying them together with Money’s big hits. Allentoff transcribed Money’s rock n’ roll music, Johnson managed the music.

Johnson along with Dresden Engle, a cast member, spear headed revamping the script for the musical.

Money continues to tour with his rock and roll band while working on the musical. His touring band includes his daughter Jesse who sings back up, and son Julian who plays the drums.

Money said he was interviewed by Oprah Winfrey for her “Where Are They Now” series, and as a result Dan Rather interviewed him for his AXS TV interview series. After the Rather interview AXS TV expressed an interest in producing a reality series which resulted in the filming of 10 episodes of the series called “Real Money.” The series stars Eddie and his entire family and features the day to day life of a working rock and roll family. Real Money will begin airing on April 8, on AXS TV.

Two Tickets to Paradise: The Eddie Money Musical will run for five performances at the Kodak Center, 200 W. Ridge Road, Rochester:
Wednesday, February 14 (Valentine’s Day) at 7:30PM Thursday, February 15 at 7:30PM
Friday, February 16 at 7:30PM (ASL-interpreted performance)
Saturday, February 17 at 7:30PM
Sunday, February 18 at 2PM
Tickets are $39.50 to $59.50 and are on sale at RapaTheatre.org, The Record Archive, or by calling (585) 254-0073. This production of “Two Tickets to Paradise” is presented with support from Record Archive.

Photos and Story by Karen Fien

Eddie Money

Eddie Money

Alec Nevin (center) as young Eddie Money.

Alec Nevin (center) as young Eddie Money.