Movin' Out is a Broadway jukebox musical featuring the music of Billy Joel, and was conceived, directed, and choreographed by Twyla Tharp. The show opened on October 24, 2002 at the Richard Rodgers Theatre and closed on December 11, 2005 after 1303 performances. As of December 2005, Movin' Out is Broadway's longest running dance musical, beating Fosse and Contact. Movin' Out is an unusual musical because it is essentially a dance show with a very loose plot, and none of the actors sing. All of the vocals are performed by a pianist and band suspended on a platform over the stage while the dancers act out the narrative below without any dialogue. The musical tells the story of a generation of American youth growing up on Long Island during the 1960's, and their experience of the Vietnam War.
Movin' Out originally opened on Broadway, but finished its run in 2005.
It is currently on tour, visiting several cities in the United States, in addition to a Japan and Canada.
Movin Out opened in London's West End on April 10, 2006, at the Apollo Victoria Theatre - where James Fox is currently the lead piano player and singer, with Darren Reeves as second piano man. Unfortunately the show closed early on May 22, 2006 due to poor ticket sales. However, this was no reflection on the show as it had received generally good reviews. Showbiz insiders suggest that it was down to a combination of the wrong (i.e. too large) theatre (the Apollo Victoria seats over 2500) and the location of the theatre which is not in the heart of Theatre Land. Also the show was marketed as a musical, yet it was really a dance show first, with a strong musical content, rather than a traditional musical show. It deserved a bigger audience in London but it's 'niche' appeal led to slow ticket sales. Also, Billy Joel has not had any major mass-market UK album sales over the past few years, so he is maybe not a mainstream box office crowd puller for West End audiences.
The play focuses on the life of Brenda and Eddie (from the song "Scenes from an Italian Restaurant"), James (from "James"), Judy, and Tony (Anthony from the song "Movin' Out"). Brenda and Eddie, high school sweethearts and the queen and king of their high school prom, finally break up (Scenes from an Italian Restaurant). Meanwhile, James and Judy are ready to cement their relationship with marriage. Tony falls in love with Brenda, who has become her own woman (Uptown Girl). Eddie, Tony, and James are drafted into the army during the Vietnam War, leaving Brenda and Judy behind in America (Waltz #1). In Vietnam, the men encounter the horrors of war (We Didn't Start the Fire), and Tony and Brenda pine for each other on opposite sides of the earth (She's Got a Way). Eddie and Tony return from the war but James has died in the war, devastating Judy (Elegy).
After the war, Eddie becomes angry and withdrawn, and turns to drugs to deal with his feelings of lonliness and self-hatred (Angry Young Man). Tony also finds it difficult to reestablish his bond with Brenda (Big Shot). Eddie coincidentally bumps into Judy in a park, and she helps him find closure from the Vietnam War through her forgiveness, allowing Eddie to start to move on with his life (Pressure). Tony and Brenda also rekindle their spark and rebuild their lives with their love (I've Loved These Days). All of the friends reunite and come full circle at home.
Original Broadway cast
Movin' Out was nominated for, and WON the following Tony Awards in 2003:
Movin' Out was nominated for, and WON the following awards: