Movin' Out's Michael Cavenaugh Sings His Way to Tony Award Nomination

Tony Awards   Movin' Out's Michael Cavenaugh Sings His Way to Tony Award Nomination "Our show is breaking every rule already, so why not?," posed Tony Award nominated singer Michael Cavenaugh of Movin' Out about his nod for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical.

Michael Cavenaugh
Michael Cavenaugh

"When I accepted the role and people saw how much I was doing, that I was singing the whole thing, people were coming up to me and saying,'You're going to get nominated, for sure.'," Cavenaugh told Playbill On-Line. "I was like 'I don't know, it's such a different thing.'"

Cavenaugh is the only vocal performer in the Broadway production of Movin' Out — which combines the songs of Billy Joel and moves of Twyla Tharp. The songster provides lead vocals and piano for over two dozen Joel tunes which are woven together into a story told through dance.

"I'm pretty much narrating the entire thing," Cavenaugh explained about his role. "It's just great that they're recognizing that. They're making room for guys like me on Broadway."

The show owes its ten nominations to the Tony Award Admistration Committee's decision that the Joel-Tharp work is a musical. Past dance-heavy Broadway shows such as Swan Lake and Contact set the precedent for the new musical's eligibility.

Cavenaugh is certainly enjoying the opportunity to perform with composer Joel. "He and I have sang together at his concert at Cleveland — which is my hometown. It was unbelievable, 20,000 [people] in my hometown. He sang the first verse of `Movin' Out' and I sang the rest of it." About Joel's two surprise visits to his Broadway show, the young singer quipped, "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. I'm also a guitar player, so I grabbed one and played guitar."