By John Stein

Little Black Book is a new rock musical about the life and times of the infamous Hollywood Madam of the 90’s, Heidi Fleiss.    Through 11 pop-rock songs, the show examines a woman who was stripped of everything she worked for by a ruthless tabloid press and an unforgiving society.

Following in the footsteps of Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita and Hadestown – and because theatres remain closed due to COVID – the producing team have decided to release a concept album before premiering the stage performance.  “While we wait for theatres to re-open, it only made sense to offer a first taste of Little Black Book through its songs,” says composer, lyricist, book writer and co-conceiver Billy Recce.  

The album stars many of the leading ladies of Broadway including Alice Ripley, Orfeh, Mandy Gonzalez, Diana DeGarmo.   We spoke with Reece and the show’s co-conceiver Will Nunziata from their homes in NYC.

What made the story of Hollywood Madam Heidi Fleiss perfect material for a musical?

Will: Great musicals are all about eavesdropping in on a moment where the stakes are so high for the characters, they have to sing, and Heidi’s story is that to a T. When the curtain rises in Little Black Book, we are immediately in a world where the stakes are life and death. We thought, “what happens if we see Heidi at her lowest point and she suddenly gets a phone call with an offer for millions of dollars to reveal the names in her ‘little black book’?  Something she has very publicly stated she will never do. That was interesting. That had stakes. That was our beginning to our story. 

Is hers a tragic story?

Billy: We went into this show knowing that Heidi Fleiss was someone who had been unfairly maligned by the press, and in crafting this musical from the public record that exists of her rise and fall, we found it incredibly difficult to find pieces that were written about her that weren’t negative or judgmental portrayals.  The misogyny of both the justice system and the media at the time of Heidi Fleiss’ arrest led to not only the loss of her business but the loss of her way of life. With this album, we look to introduce audiences to a more nuanced and empathetic Heidi in a tuneful way; a young girl with dreams and a shrewd business acumen that was shot down by society because she was bold enough to be successful.

Why did you choose to tell the story in present time rather than during the trial?

Billy: The TV movies already covered the trial decades ago, and while Little Black Book does feature the salacious details of the trial, its primary focus is on how that trial affected this woman’s humanity—a humanity that was pushed aside by the media at the time of her arrest.

Yet, the Little Black Book soundtrack has a 90’s rock vibe. 

Will: Because Heidi was a 90s rock star in so many ways. The musical vernacular of this piece had to embody the time in which Heidi’s rise and fall took place.

Billy: I’m a writer who thinks heavily in terms of genre, and have always believed that the music and orchestration of a song can tell just as much of a story as the lyrics. So, anytime I start a new project, I always make a playlist of pre-existing songs that will guide me along my musical journey. This playlist included songs by everyone from Joan Jett all the way up to Aly and AJ and Demi Lovato.  Women who represented the pinnacle of female punk rock talent; who unapologetically made space for themselves in a male dominated field and ended up defining it, in nearly the same way that Heidi Fleiss unapologetically made space for herself in the sex industry.

Was the original intention to stage the musical?

Billy: After debuting several songs at various concerts in early 2020, the next step was to stage a reading in the spring of 2020. Obviously, COVID derailed that. However, we knew from the beginning that the heartbeat of this show was its songs.

Will: Since it is structured as a rock concert, there is a beautiful duality of the songs that allow them to exist on their own as pop songs outside of the story of Little Black Book, and we felt that the best way to get people excited about both the show and Heidi’s story was to put out the biggest, baddest record we could.

How did you round up such an incredible cast for the Little Black Book album? 

Will: We wanted to showcase the “everywoman” element of Heidi. In so many ways, what happened to Heidi could happen to any woman who is strong, opinionated and business-savvy. So, we set out to cast the concept album with women known for their distinct, individual star quality.  COVID downtime certainly allowed us the opportunity to have so many legends on this album.

Is the plan to bring Little Black Book to the stage at some point in the future?

Billy: Yes, Little Black Book was conceived as a one-woman theatrical rock concert, and the hope is that we and a kickass Broadway diva and all female rock-band will be able to share this piece in a theatre within the next year. At its core, the story of Little Black Book is about a woman who has been repeatedly knocked down and finally finding the strength to move forward and start anew. It’s a show about hope in the face of darkness, and that message is even more prescient now than it was when we sat down to create it two years ago.

The digital album of Little Black Book is available now on and wherever digital music is sold.  The CD version of Little Black Book releases April 30th but is available for pre-order at major music retailers including and