Kitt also did the arrangements to the 2012 film, "Pitch Perfect" about a cappella groups. In development are film musicals, one set in a theater camp and another an adaptation of the "Sweet Valley High" young adult books, with Diablo Cody ("Juno") writing the screenplay.

Kitt and Yorkey also will be honored March 1 as part of the prestigious "American Songbook" series in New York. This spring he has also written underscoring for two Broadway plays: a revival of "Orphans" and "The Madrid" starring Edie Falco.

Billy Joel Encounter

Kitt grew up until he was 13 in Port Washington, Long Island, and then Bedford, N.Y., in wanting to be Billy Joel, Bruce Springstein and Stephen Sondheim. He was an economic major at Columbia — his father is an economist — though he didn't know exactly what he wanted to do after college. That is, until he met classmate Yorkey and they began writing music together.

One memorable moment in college came when Billy Joel was visiting the university for a talk and Kitt joked with his girlfriend — now his wife, Rita Pietropinto — that he was going to ask Joel if he could jam with him.

"And she said, 'You should!'' And suddenly there was all this pressure on me. So when it came time for questions from the audience, I raised my hand and said: 'I have two questions: What advice would you have to aspiring singer-songwriters?' I told him that if it wasn't for him I wouldn't be a musician. And then I said, ' And could I do a song with you?' And he said yes and I got up from my seat and we played 'New York State of Mind,' singing back and forth. It felt like I died and went to heaven because I'm suddenly on the same song with him."

He's also stayed friends with Green Day's Armstrong and his wife, Adrian. "You become a family in creating a show. It's a very protective process and you go to very emotional places, developing strong bonds. We continue to be in each other's lives in important ways. I continue to marvel at [the band's] sound and range and how they continue to reinvent what they want to do.

"I think Billy definitely found a huge love of theater in the process of doing 'American Idiot. I'd be shocked if he didn't return to the theater. He's floated some idea already of what he wants to do. What I think he should do is write something especially for the theater and go through that whole process. I'd like to see him write that 11 o'clock number in the lobby of the theater the day before your first preview "

AMERICAN IDIOT plays Feb. 26 through March 3. at the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, 166 Capitol Ave., Hartford. Performances are Tuesday through Thursday at 7:30 p.m.; Friday at 8 p.m.; Saturday at 2 and 8 p.m.; Sunday at 1 and 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 to $75. Information: 860-987-5900 and

GREEN DAY plays Mohegan Sun, 1 Mohegan Blvd., Uncasville, on April 6 at 8 p.m. Information: 888-226-7711 x27163.

Read Frank Rizzo's blog on theater, the arts and entertainment at And be the first to know by following Frank on Twitter at