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Washington DC by Tracy Lyon

Movin’ Out

Also see Tracy's review of Carousel

Movin' Out
Ron Todorowski
National Theatre is giving Washingtonians a wonderful holiday gift this year in the form of its latest booking - Movin’ Out. The brainchild of the legendary Twyla Tharp, Movin’ Out combines Tharp’s dynamic choreography with the popular music of Billy Joel to create a musical that is well defined and emotionally satisfying. The Broadway musical garnered Tony awards for both Tharp and Joel and continues to entertain audiences in New York.

Movin’ Out tells the story of a group of young friends. It is the Vietnam era and war is upon them. Love dissipates and blooms before the boys are shipped off to war. The group is separated and they all deal with these turbulent times in their own way.

Billy Joel’s music often tells a story. That is what makes his body of work so perfect for the theater. The energetic nature of his music engages the listener and inspires feeling. Twyla Tharp took advantage of these qualities and choreographed dance that is equally moving.

Both of these elements are beautifully performed by a talented cast of musicians and dancers. Suspended on a bridge above the stage, the band plays the Joel tunes with vigor. The performance that this reviewer attended featured Darren Holden on piano and lead vocals. Mr. Holden should make Billy Joel proud. He delivers an outstanding performance of songs that include “Uptown Girl”, “The Stranger”, “Pressure” and of course, “Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song).”

The dancers in this piece are a sight to behold. Twyla Tharp, who also serves as director, has guided them well in both dancing and acting. They are very expressive and seem to have a good handle on their characters. Ron Todorowski is a standout as the troubled Eddie. His dancing borders on acrobatics as he moves with an intensity that fits the character. It is hard to take one’s eyes off him. Holly Cruikshank is a wonderful Brenda. Her characterization is dead on and her dance moves are flawless. She has great chemistry with David Gomez (Tony) who also outdoes himself on stage. Julieta Gros (Judy) and Matthew Dibble (James) also deliver strong performances as does the entire ensemble.

Audiences should not expect a traditional book musical when they walk into the theater to see Movin' Out. Everything is communicated through music and dance. What audiences will get is an innovative piece of theater that thrills as much as its Broadway counterpart. Movin’ Out runs at National Theatre through December 19th.

The National Theatre
Movin’ Out
November 19th – December 19th
Conceived by Twyla Tharp
Music and Lyrics by Billy Joel
Directed by Twyla Tharp
1321 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20004
Ticket Information: 1-800-722-4990 or www.telecharge.com

Cast List

MONDAY, WEDNESDAY, SATURDAY & SUNDAY EVENING

Eddie: Ron Todorowski
Brenda: Holly Cruikshank
Tony: David Gomez
Judy: Julieta Gros
James: Matthew Dibble
Sergeant O’Leary/Drill Sergeant: John Carroll

TUESDAY & FRIDAY EVENING AND SATURDAY & SUNDAY MATINEE

Eddie: Brendan King
Brenda: Laurie Kanyok
Tony: Corbin Popp
Judy: Julieta Gros
James: Matthew Dibble
Sergeant O’Leary/Drill Sergeant: John Carroll

MONDAY, WEDNESDAY, FRIDAY & SATURDAY EVENING AND SUNDAY MATINEE

Piano/Lead Vocals: Darren Holden

TUESDAY & SUNDAY EVENING AND SATURDAY MATINEE

Piano/Lead Vocals: Matt Wilson


Photo: Joan Marcus


-- Tracy Lyon


Also see the Current Theatre Season Calendar for D.C.



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