Movin' Out (musical)

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Movin' Out
Movin' Out 002.jpg
Original Broadway Logo
MusicBilly Joel
LyricsBilly Joel
PremiereJune 25, 2002 (2002-06-25): Shubert Theatre, Chicago
Productions2002 Chicago
2002 Broadway
2004 North American Tour
2006 West End

Movin' Out is a 2002 jukebox musical featuring the songs of Billy Joel. Conceived and created by Twyla Tharp, the musical tells the story of a generation of American youth growing up on Long Island during the 1960s and their experiences with the Vietnam War. The principal characters are drawn from those who appeared in various Joel tunes: high school sweethearts Brenda and Eddie ("Scenes from an Italian Restaurant"), James ("James"), Judy ("Why Judy Why"), and Tony (Anthony in "Movin' Out"). The show diverts from the traditional musical in that it essentially is a series of dances linked by a thin plot, and none of the dancers sing. Instead, all the vocals are performed by a pianist (the "Piano Man", representing Billy Joel) and band suspended on a platform above the stage while the dancers act out the songs' lyrics, basically making the show a rock ballet.


In 2000, Tharp approached Joel for permission to create the show, presenting him with a 20-minute concept video featuring the show's eventual Broadway cast. Joel was enthusiastic about it, but kept his involvement thereafter to a minimum.[1] The show started in pre-Broadway try-outs at the Shubert Theatre in Chicago from June 25, 2002, through September 1, 2002. The Chicago production was negatively received, and Tharp made extensive revisions to the show's first act, with some suggestions from Joel.[1]

It premiered on Broadway at the Richard Rodgers Theatre on October 24, 2002, to more positive reviews,[1] and closed on December 11, 2005, after 1,303 performances and 28 previews. Directed and choreographed by Tharp, the cast included Michael Cavanaugh (Piano Man), Darren Holden (replacement Piano Man), Wade Preston (alternate Piano Man), Elizabeth Parkinson (Brenda), John Selya (Eddie), Keith Roberts (Tony), Henry Haid (understudy Piano Man), Ashley Tuttle (Judy), Benjamin G. Bowman (James), and Scott Wise (Sergeant O'Leary/Drill Sergeant).

The first national tour of Movin' Out ran for three years, opening on January 27, 2004[2] and closing on January 21, 2007, after 1,111 performances. The tour also played to generally excellent reviews and full houses in 82 U.S. cities, and also ran in Canada in December 2005. It featured numerous dancers from the original Broadway production, who rotated in and out as schedules allowed. Darren Holden was the primary lead Piano Man and star for the entire run of the tour, understudied by Matt Wilson (2004), Charlie Neshyba-Hodges (2004), James Fox (2005) and Matthew Friedman (2006). Holly Cruikshank, in the role of Brenda, won the 2005 Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Non-Resident Production.

The West End production opened on April 10, 2006, at London's Apollo Victoria Theatre where, despite receiving mostly solid reviews, it ran for less than two months, closing on May 2, 2006. James Fox and Darren Reeves were the leads.

The show played Tokyo, Japan in the summer of 2006, with many of the first national tour's performers including Darren Holden in the lead role.

A second national tour opened in Atlantic City on June 14, 2007, with Matthew Friedman and Kyle Martin in the lead role of Piano Man.[3]

A third National Tour opened in La Crosse, Wisconsin on November 4, 2008, with Matthew Friedman, Kyle Martin, and Jon Abrams in the lead role of Piano Man.

On October 15, 2002, a live cast recording was released featuring the 2002 original Broadway cast. It was a single CD featuring 30 tracks.[4]

Song list[edit]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Original Broadway production[edit]

Year Award Ceremony Category Nominee Result
2003 Tony Award Best Musical Nominated
Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical John Selya Nominated
Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical Elizabeth Parkinson Nominated
Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical Michael Cavanaugh Nominated
Keith Roberts Nominated
Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical Ashley Tuttle Nominated
Best Direction of a Musical Twyla Tharp Nominated
Best Choreography Won
Best Orchestrations Billy Joel and Stuart Malina Won
Best Lighting Design Donald Holder Nominated
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Musical Nominated
Outstanding Actor in a Musical John Selya Nominated
Outstanding Actress in a Musical Elizabeth Parkinson Nominated
Outstanding Director of a Musical Twyla Tharp Nominated
Outstanding Choreography Won
Outstanding Lighting Design Donald Holder Nominated
Theatre World Award John Selya Won


  1. ^ a b c Pogrebin, Robin (December 12, 2002). "Movin' Out Beyond Missteps; How Twyla Tharp Turned a Problem in Chicago Into a Hit on Broadway". The New York Times. Retrieved May 20, 2022.
  2. ^ Hernandez, Ernio (August 18, 2005). "Twyla Tharp and Billy Joel Musical Movin' Out of Broadway; Final Performance Dec. 11". Playbill. Retrieved June 12, 2022.
  3. ^ Hoffman, Lori (July 12, 2007). "It's Still Rock & Roll". Atlantic City Weekly. Retrieved June 12, 2022.
  4. ^ "MOVIN' OUT – ORIGINAL BROADWAY CAST RECORDING 2002". Masterworks Broadway. 2002. Archived from the original on August 26, 2014. Retrieved August 26, 2014.

External links[edit]