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Miller musical based on Billy Joel's anthology

April 3, 2008

KALAMAZOO--The Tony Award-winning musical "Movin' Out," created and directed by Twyla Tharp and based on 24 classic songs by Billy Joel, comes to Western Michigan University's Miller Auditorium for three performances at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, April 8-10.

Told through Tharp's choreography and two dozen of Joel's greatest hits, "Movin' Out" is the story of lifelong friends traveling through two turbulent decades that change them and the world around them forever. Songs like "It's Still Rock and Roll to Me," "We Didn't Start the Fire" and "Pressure" weave a musical backdrop which beautifully complements Tharp's innovative choreography.

Many will recognize the musical's main characters, as they come straight from Joel's lyrics--Brenda and Eddie from "Scenes from an Italian Restaurant," Tony and Sergeant O'Leary from "Movin' Out," Judy from "Why, Judy, Why" and James from "James."

"The movement and the action tell the story--the experience and the emotional resonance comes from action rather than language," Tharp says.

The Broadway production of "Movin' Out" played for more than three years, closing Dec. 11, 2005, after 28 previews and 1,303 regular performances. It received two 2003 Tony Awards--Best Choreography for Tharp and Best Orchestrations for Joel.

The area debut of "Movin' Out" will bring more than familiar tunes back to Kalamazoo. Rob Cookman, the touring show's musical director, will be returning to his alma mater to present the award-winning soundtrack. Cookman, who received his Master of Music degree from WMU in 1998, has performed with the Dearborn Symphony, shared the stage with Collective Soul and John Entwhistle of The Who, and toured the country as keyboardist and conductor for the hit show "Mamma Mia." Raised in Romney, W.Va., Cookman holds an undergraduate degree from West Virginia University. He taught piano at WMU and Kalamazoo College.

Tickets for "Movin' Out" at Miller Auditorium range from $25 to $50 and are on sale now. They are available at (269) 387-2300 or (800) 228-9858, online at millerauditorium.com, or by visiting the Miller Auditorium Ticket Office or Epic Center Box Office in downtown Kalamazoo. Groups of 20 or more should call (269) 387-2312 for special discounts.

Media contact: Tracey Lawie (269) 387-2309, tracey.lawie@wmich.edu

WMU News
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