News from the Tennessee Valley Living Today

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Movin' out
one last time

Broadway hit based on Billy Joel
songs ends touring company run
in Birmingham

By Patrice Stewart 340-2446

It's "Movin' Out," and you can be there for the final weekend of touring company performances of this Broadway hit based on 24 classic songs by Billy Joel.

This show was conceived, choreographed and directed by award-winning Twyla Tharp.

After 1,111 performances during a record-breaking three years on the road in the United States and Japan, the final touring performance will be Jan. 21 in Birmingham.

The show will open at the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center Concert Hall on Tuesday. You can catch this production during any of the eight performances, including two matinees, scheduled Jan. 16-21.

Because it's the end of the tour, you may get a special treat, according to Broadway across America Birmingham spokesman David Barry.

Several Broadway cast members and original touring company members will be coming to Birmingham to participate in the last shows. They are expected to include Holly Cruikshank as Brenda, David Gomez as Tony, Brendan King as Eddie, Ron Todorowski as a principal dancer and Darren Holden as the "Piano Man" and lead vocalist. They will rotate roles with the most recent touring cast.

The Broadway production of this dance musical closed 13 months ago after 1,331 performances and surpassing dance-based shows such as "Fosse," "Contact" and "Bring in 'da Noise, Bring in 'da Funk."

This national tour began in Detroit almost exactly three years ago, on Jan. 27, 2004, and set box office records in 11 of the cities on its route.

This show received the 2005 "Best New Musical" and "Best Choreography" awards from the League of American Theatres and Producers Touring Broadway Awards.

The songs and dance take audiences through a poignant narrative comprised of three main elements: post-World War II idealism, the Vietnam War and its subsequent unrest, and finally, survival.

If you like Joel's songs, such as "It's Still Rock and Roll to Me," "We Didn't Start the Fire" and "Pressure," then you should like the way they come together to complement the innovative choreography by Tharp.

Joel has had 33 Top 40 hits and 23 Grammy nominations since 1972 and has sold over a million records. Tharp is known for her work with five movies and two Broadway shows, as well as creating works for Twyla Tharp Dance and American Ballet Theatre, plus many other groups.

"The union of Tharp and Joel is one made in heaven," said Chicago Tribune reviewer Sid Smith, who called the show "electrifying."

How to go

What: Touring production of "Movin' Out," a dance-based musical

When: 8 p.m. Jan. 16-20, 2 p.m. Jan. 20, and 1 and 7 p.m. Jan. 21

Where: Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center Concert Hall

Tickets: $27 to $72 at the BJCC ticket office and Ticketmaster locations, by calling (205) 715-6000 or (800) 277-1700, or online at

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