The new musical collaboration between pop legend Billy Joel and choreographer Twyla Tharp now has a title—Movin' Out—and a Broadway theatre, the Richard Rodgers. The show, which will have an out-of-town tryout in Chicago before hitting Broadway, will open on Broadway on Oct. 24. The Chicago run, at the Shubert Theatre, will be June 25-Aug. 4.
Auditions for male and female dancers for the fast-tracked tuner begin in Toronto on Feb. 1.
The musical, previously called The Thoel Project, had a workshop over the Oct. 6-7, 2001, weekend. The story concerns six friends who grow up in the 1960s and go on to fight in Vietnam. One is killed in the war and another comes to blame the third for the man's death. The show will incorporate existing Joel songs as well some new material the songwriter will pen for the show. The show will feature 26 Joel compositions including the songs "Innocent Man," "Big Shot," "River of Dreams" and "Movin' Out."
Designers are Santo Loquasto (sets), Ann Roth (costumes), Donald Holder (lighting) and Brian Ruggles and Peter Fitzgerald (sound). The workshop features Scott Wise, Michael Cavanaugh and Elizabeth Parkinson.
According to the casting notice, Tharp is looking for dancers steeped in ballet. Stuart Malina is the music director on the venture.
Joel had talked about writing a musical off and on over the years. The self-styled "piano man" from Long Island has steadily hit the pop charts since his breakthrough 1977 album, "The Stranger." Since then, he has recorded such records as "52nd Street," "Glass Houses," "The Nylon Curtain," "Storm Front," "An Innocent Man" and "River of Dreams." Among his best known songs are "Only the Good Die Young," "Just the Way You Are," "My Life," "You May Be Right," "Tell Her About It," "Uptown Girl," "We Didn't Start the Fire" and "A Matter of Trust."
Joel is only the latest pop musician to venture into the world of theatre. Past pop artists who have crossed over (with varying success) include: Paul Simon (The Capeman), Harry Connick, Jr. ( Thou Shalt Not) Pete Townsend (The Who's Tommy), Randy Newman (Randy Newman's Faust), Roger Miller (Big River), Barry Manilow (Copacabana and Harmony) and Dennis DeYoung (Hunchback), Jimmy Buffett (Don't Stop The Carnival), The Bee Gees (Saturday Night Fever), the Pet Shop Boys (Closer to Heaven) and the composing half of ABBA (Mamma Mia!).