Dates and its extensive list of tour stops will be announced shortly. The tour is expected to hit major cities across the country. Producers of the Broadway run — James L. Nederlander, Hal Luftig, Scott E. Nederlander, Terry Allen Kramer, Clear Channel Entertainment and Emanuel Azenberg — will also present the tour.
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.
Following a tryout at Chicago's Shubert Theatre, the show officially opened on The Great White Way Oct. 24, following previews since Sept. 30. Recently dubbed a new musical (by the Tony Awards Administration Committee), the production that topped many end-of-the-year lists will vie for the top Tony prize for Best Musical.
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."
The Broadway cast, all highly experienced dancers, is headed up by leads Elizabeth Parkinson as Brenda, John Selya as Eddie, Keith Roberts as Tony, Benjamin G. Bowman as James and Ashley Tuttle as Judy. The designer team includes Santo Loquasto (sets), Suzy Benzinger (costumes), Donald Holder (lighting) and Brian Ruggles and Peter Fitzgerald (sound).