Neil Giraldo and Pat Benatar will premiere their "Romeo and...

Neil Giraldo and Pat Benatar will premiere their "Romeo and Juliet Project" at Mashashimuet Park in Sag Harbor on Friday and Saturday. Credit: Getty Images / Bobby Bank

Pat Benatar laughs when she’s told the music that she and husband Neil Giraldo have created for the past 40 years seems to be an unusual fit with a stage production of “Romeo and Juliet.”

The star-crossed lovers have never really seemed like the “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” type. They seem more apt to be manipulated, while the people in the Lindenhurst native’s songs seem more “Invincible.”

“That's why you will be amazed,” says Benatar, calling from a tour stop in Oregon. “It's actually astounding how the songs work and fit. It's just crazy.”

“You’ll see,” adds Giraldo. “It really applies to more than Romeo and Juliet’s quest to become a couple. It’s an internal battle and it’s a battle between different cities.”

And Benatar and Giraldo will be at the free performances of “The Romeo and Juliet Project” at Mashashimuet Park in Sag Harbor on Friday and Saturday to see how things are coming along while they have been on tour celebrating the 40th anniversary of the release of Benatar’s debut album “In the Heat of the Night.” (The album, including the smash “Heartbreaker,” was released on Aug. 27, 1979, and Benatar and Giraldo have a special show planned at The Paramount in Huntington for Aug. 28.)

“We listen to everything — the book, the music, the structure,” Giraldo says. “But the team behind this is phenomenal and it’s great to have a bunch of people knowing what they’re supposed to do.”

“The Romeo and Juliet Project” was written by Bradley Bredeweg, best known for co-creating the TV drama “The Fosters,” and is being directed by Bay Street Theater’s creative director Scott Schwartz.  

Benatar says she and Giraldo had been working on a sort of autobiographical musical involving their songs for years and Bredeweg had developed a nightclub show using their music, so they decided to work together for this new project. “We just joined forces and it turned into this really wonderful, satisfying, inspirational project,” says Benatar, adding that they hope to take it to Broadway eventually. “We're having such a good time.”

Giraldo says there are two new songs in the musical, though because they are all still working on it, there may be more added. “I want it to be brave,” he says. “I don't want to follow any kind of rules. I want it to be disruptive in a positive way … and that's there. It’s really important to me that the music stands on its own.”

And Benatar says she and Giraldo feel more of a connection to Romeo and Juliet than many would think. “Everyone always used to say that we were Romeo and Juliet because of all the trouble that they've given us all these years, trying to split us up and everything,” she says. “So, it's just sort of coming full circle for us. I can't even tell you what a joy this has been working on this project. It is simply wonderful.”

WHAT “The Romeo and Juliet Project”

WHEN|WHERE 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Mashashimuet Park, 395 Main St., Sag Harbor

INFO Free ($85 for VIP seating); 631-324-4051,

WHO Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo with Melissa Etheridge

WHEN|WHERE 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 28, The Paramount, 370 New York Ave., Huntington

INFO $79.50-$199.50; 631-673-7300,

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