After numerous rounds of rapturous applause for the musical's cast of dancers and its onstage orchestra, pop songwriter Billy Joel—whose songs provided the musical score of Movin' Out—suddenly and unexpectedly took the stage.
The audience roared with surprise and gratification. With a big smile on his face, leading Movin' Out vocalist Michael Cavanaugh immediately vacated his piano bench in deference to the original Piano Man.
Joel agreed to play and treated the crowd to a rendition of "Seen the Lights Go Out on Broadway," which included an ad-libbed lyric that referred to producers James L. Nederlander and Emanuel Azenberg as the men who lit up Broadway again. Meanwhile, the musical's cast sat together downstage in a semi-circle formation in what seemed to be a collective state of idolized appreciation. Upon the song's finish, Billy Joel then led the band in a second and final song, "You May Be Right."
Movin' Out, which sets Twyla Tharp's choreography to Billy Joel songs, ended its three-year run at the Richard Rodgers Theatre Dec. 11 after 28 previews and 1,303 regular performances.
Movin' Out boasts most of its original lead cast—who have taken breaks here and there, but returned—including Tony Award nominees John Selya, Elizabeth Parkinson, Keith Roberts, Ashley Tuttle, Michael Cavanaugh as well as Scott Wise and Benjamin G. Bowman. "I am so proud to have been a part of this landmark production. As important as the creation of the show, a wonderful family has been created here," lead producer James L. Nederlander stated in a release. "Long after the final performance, the memory of this show will live in the new standard of excellence and commitment they have set."
Tharp is currently at work on another piece in the same vein, The Times They Are A-Changin', which uses the music of Bob Dylan.