The show is virtually bookless, by traditional musical theatre standards, using Joel's song lyrics and Tharp's choreography to tell the story of five friends 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.
As per the official Pulitzer site's wording, "The award in drama goes to a playwright but production of the play as well as script are taken into account." Accordingly, the show which credits no bookwriter comes as a unconventional candidate for the Pulitzer. The award is granted "for a distinguished play by an American author, preferably original in its source and dealing with American life," as the terms state. However, the Tony Awards Administration Committee recently ruled the work as a new musical, rather than a Special Theatrical Event, making it eligible to vie for the top Tony prize of Best Musical.
All entries for this year's Pulitzer Prize for Drama were to be submitted by a March 1, 2003 deadline. Movin' Out's submission, concocted by Tharp, featured a transcribed plot description accompanied by the musical's lyrics and photographs depicting the dance.
The Pulitzer Prize for Drama, which has been awarded since 1917, has only been awarded to musical seven times. Among the musical winners include Of Thee I Sing, South Pacific, Fiorello!, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, A Chorus Line, Sunday in the Park with George and Rent. No award has been bestowed 14 times in the prize's history. According to The Plan of Award "If in any year all the competitors in any category shall fall below the standard of excellence fixed by The Pulitzer Prize Board, the amount of such prize or prizes may be withheld."
The annual award will be announced this year April 7. For more information on The Pulitzer Prize, visit the official website at www.pulitzer.org.