Joel has made appearances in the Broadway staging of the new Broadway musical collaboration between him and choreographer Twyla Tharp, courtesy of the show's Joel interpreter Michael Cavanaugh. "It was my idea. He didn't want to do it at first. He came up and sang 'New York State of Mind' at the end. So I grabbed one of the guitars and played [with him]."
Tony nominee Cavanaugh told Playbill On-Line about Joel's likely Tony performance. "It will probably be him performing with his band separately. I can say he's thinking about it. He's considering it and I think it would be pretty great if he did."
As far as both singers performing together, Cavanaugh revealed, "I don't think there will be a duet. I think they'll separate it because that's really not what the show is." The Movin' Out performance at the Tonys is expected to be a medley of the show's numerous songs. "We don't know yet, whatever Twyla puts together," quipped Cavanaugh. "It'll probably be something we have to work out because we're going to have to put together different aspects of the show and explain it in four minutes."
Movin' Out garnered ten Tony nominations — second only to Hairspray's 13 — including nods for performers John Selya, Elizabeth Parkinson, Keith Roberts, Ashley Tuttle and Cavanaugh; director-choreographer Tharp; orchestrators Joel and Stuart Malina; designer Donald Holder; and for Best Musical.
The bookless show, currently residing at Broadway's Richard Rodgers Theatre, uses Joel's song lyrics and Tharp's choreography to tell the story of five friends and lovers across three decades through love, war and loss. There is no dialogue and all songs are performed by pianist-singer Michael Cavanaugh, who sings non-stop and heads an on-stage band during the show. The songlist includes many of Joel's hit songs and even interpolates some of his classical work. "It's Still Rock and Roll to Me" functions as a sort of overture, introducing the characters. The story kicks off with "Scenes from an Italian Restaurant" and moves through other songs as the popular "We Didn't Start the Fire," "Big Shot," "Uptown Girl" and "Captain Jack," as well as more obscure early work like "James," "Summer, Highland Falls," and "Angry Young Man." As a final curtain coda, Cavanaugh belts out the apropos "New York State of Mind."