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About Michael Cavanaugh
Michael Cavanaugh's career-making performance was as the lead singer and pianist in Movin' Out, Twyla Tharp's 2002 Billy Joel jukebox musical. Tharp conceived and choreographed the piece and Joel selected Cavanagh to act as his effective surrogate. Movin' Out helped push Cavanaugh into the spotlight -- it earned him Tony and Grammy nominations -- and after the show ended its run, Cavanagh formed his own touring productions featuring the music of Billy Joel and other classic rockers. By the 2010s, he was a fixture on the corporate circuit and he started to focus on original material.
A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Michael Cavanaugh was the youngest child of four. He began playing piano when he was seven and quickly embraced the instrument. By the time he was a teenager, he was gigging regularly, and once he hit adulthood, he pursued a professional career. First, he played piano bars in Orlando, Florida, and in 1999, he relocated to Las Vegas where he played at the New York New York Hotel and Casino.
While Movin' Out was in pre-production, Joel attended a 2001 Cavanaugh performance at New York New York. Liking what he saw, Joel hired the pianist to star as the Piano Man in Movin' Out and he stayed with the show throughout its Broadway run, earning a Tony nomination for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical in 2003.
Following the 2005 close of Movin' Out, Cavanaugh began touring with a show that highlighted well-known hits from the classic rock years, usually playing corporate and sporting events. In 2007, he released the Miles Away EP, which was followed the next year by the full-length In Color. Also in 2008, he launched a symphonic show called Michael Cavanaugh: The Songs of Billy Joel and More; this show was captured on a 2011 live LP. It was followed in 2010 by another symphonic show, Generations of Rock: The Songs of Elton John and More, and in 2012 he created a third revue, Singers and Songwriters: The Music of Paul Simon, Neil Diamond, and James Taylor. In 2017, Cavanaugh released The Way I Hear It, his first-ever collection of original material. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
- Cleveland, OH
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