I can’t remember when I was not putting my thoughts down on paper, or now on a computer screen. I have a dim memory of writing my first short story when I was a child, something about a beat-up jalopy. When I was a teenager, it never occurred to me that the other baseball teams in the Police Athletic League didn’t have yearbooks with write-ups about each of the players. At New York University in the early ‘60s, my co-editor and I introduced a weekly cultural section to cover the folk music and progressive jazz movements, beat poets and political essayists, transforming Greenwich Village, yet again. During my stint as a quality control officer in the Tactical Air Command, I wrote regularly for the base newspaper. When I was discharged, I spent years writing and photographing articles for magazines and newspapers about anything that caught my interest: business, travel, the arts, sports, anything really. I have written short stories, novels, business books, travel guides . . . I’ve lost track.
Music has always been part of my life; guitars always a great love, although they never fell deeply in love with me. I have never been more than a barely functional player. Nonetheless, I found that my writing ability provided a pathway to composing songs and there was a great deal of musical talent around my home on Long Island that could bring my songs to life. In retrospect, I have been writing “Leaving Pleasantville,” the musical on this website, for a dozen years, originally not realizing that some of what I was composing would come together in the play.
In the late ‘50s, I was a member of an early rock ‘n’ roll band, but eventually the band broke up and the players faded into our separate lives. A few years ago, after my fellow band-mate, Tony Padula, had retired as a successful businessman, I convinced him to pick up the guitar again and that we write a song together. He was disbelieving, but I hammered away. I talked him into taking a stroll back in his old neighborhood on 11th Street in Lower Manhattan and the result was the song that opens “Leaving Pleasantville.” Tony also collaborated on some of the earlier songs in the play and provided useful ideas and feedback for the book.
The book began, as many works of fiction do, heavily rooted in autobiography. But over the years, the characters liberated themselves and started to push me down roads they wanted to travel. And those directions eventually led me – and my more-fascinating alter-ego, Eddie – back to the muse who writers tend to abandon when they become shackled to the demands of the real world.
Like Eddie, I have found my muse. “Leaving Pleasantville” is the result. I am talking to anyone in theatre who will listen and hope to present it, some day, as a full-blown musical. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this website.
-- Tony Tedeschi