FLASHBACK FRIDAY: Over the years, Broadway has had some successful shows that have shows that didn’t run that long but ended up having a huge following. Another one of those great shows was a jukebox musical all told through song and dance. The show featured a selection of songs by a gentlemen known as the PIANO MAN….Billy Joel.The dancing featured high energy choreography and a full vision by the legendary Twyla Tharp. This is Movin’ Out (musical).
MOVIN’ OUT was a coming of age story following a group of friends from the 1960’s and their time during the Vietnam War. Names of characters from Billy Joel songs are used as the main characters in the musical including sweethearts “Brenda” and “Eddie” (SCENES FROM AN ITALIAN RESTURANT), “James” (JAMES), “Judy” (WHY JUDY WHY), and “Anthony” (MOVIN’ OUT). The cast of dancers do not sing which they are replaced by a 10 piece rock band that is suspended on a platform above the stage while the dancers act out the songs dialogue entirely through dance. Billy Joel did not appear in the production 8 times a week but was replaced by a singer in the role of THE PIANO MAN (tracked in the program as LEAD VOCALS / PIANO).
The cast featured Tony nominee as John Selya as “Eddie”, Tony nominee Elizabeth Parkinson as “Brenda”, Tony nominee Keith Roberts as “Anthony”, Tony nominee Ashley Tuttle as “Judy”, Benjamin G. Bowman as “James”, and Tony nominee Michael Cavanaugh (who got discovered by Billy Joel in a piano bar in Las Vegas) on “Lead Vocals / Piano”.
Because of the demands of the show, the main roles in the production featured alternating dancers that performed the show on Wednesday & Saturday matinees. The alternating cast included Ted Banfalvi as “Eddie” Meg Paul as “Brenda”, Ian Carney as “Anthony”, Mabel Modrono as “Judy”, Alex Brady as “James”, and Wade Preston on “Lead Piano / Vocals”.
Following an acclaimed out of town tryout in Chicago, MOVIN’ OUT officially arrived on Broadway on October 24th, 2002 at the Richard Rodgers Theatre where it ran for an acclaimed total run of 1,331 performances. The show was nominated for 10 Tony Awards in 2003 winning 2 for Best Choreography (for Twyla Tharp) and Best Orchestrations (for Billy Joel and Stuart Malina). Following it’s Broadway success, MOVIN’ OUT went on to travel across America, played London’s West End at the Apollo Victoria Theatre for a limited run, and more.
During the closing night on Broadway, Billy Joel himself made a surprise appearance and performed as a special encore MIAMI 2017 (I SAW THE LIGHTS GO OUT ON BROADWAY).
How many people remember MOVIN’ OUT?!!
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