February 16, 2009
Over Valentine's Day weekend the Murat Theatre rocked with the familiar songs of Billy Joel. Broadway Across America presented the Tony awarding-winning "Movin' Out" for one weekend only.
The loose narrative follows a handful of youths whose idyllic lives are shattered when the men are shipped off to fight in Vietnam. The guilt, anger and mourning that follow cripple the characters as they try to find their way back to a normal life.
"Movin' Out" is created in the same vein as other rock shows like "We Will Rock You," which showcases Queen's music, and "All Shook Up," an Elvis musical. It is unabashed celebration of Billy Joel's music. It forgoes a complicated plot to become a choreographed concert.
The show is an original collaboration between Joel and choreographer Twyla Tharp. Tharp's unique dance routines embrace every style of motion - swing, ballet, modern and more.
Tharp uses sweet melodies like "Just the Way You Are" and "Shameless" to create intimate ballet sequences. The talented dancers move together in perfect synch, demonstrating their characters' pain and love for each other using only their bodies. In other scenes, anger pours forth in almost violent thrusts to songs like "Big Shot."
"The Stranger" was both beautiful and haunting as the character Judy mourns the death of her love. It begins with that eerie whistle that sends shivers through the audience before bursting into the main beat.
With the exception of a few barked military commands, there is no dialogue in the show. Instead, the characters' stories are told through Joel's lyrics.
The cast is made up of rotating dancers and a piano man who perform the leads on different nights. The piano man sits on an elevated bridge above the stage and sings every song while pounding out the notes. He carries the show with his voice and ability to pull in the crowd.
"Movin' Out" is a concert in every sense of the word, but its blend of music and dance makes it a delightful for the eyes as well as the ears.
Don't Miss the Next Show
Up next for Broadway Across America is "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang." It will be at Clowes Memorial Hall from April 28 through May 3. Tickets can be purchased at Clowes Memorial Hall, the Murat Theatre, by calling (317) 239-1000 or online at www.broadwayacrossamerica.com.