The Music of Billy Joel and Elton John Starring Michael Cavanaugh
(February 1, 2024 7:00pm)
What do you do for an encore when Billy Joel handpicks you to star in his musical Movin’ Out? For pianist and singer Michael Cavanaugh, the answer was to tour the world as what Billboard called “The new voice of the American Rock and Roll Songbook.” The Grammy and Tony award-nominated artist has toured with productions bringing to life the music of not only Joel but Elton John, Paul Simon, Neil Diamond, and James Taylor. His album, The Way I Hear It, released in 2017, debuted at No. 17 on the Billboard Heatseekers Chart.
Cavanaugh began playing the piano at age seven when his parents bought him his first instrument. Encouraged by family and friends and inspired by his hero, Billy Joel, the young musician formed his first band at ten and began performing at local functions. His first full-time gig was an extended engagement in Orlando at a piano bar called Blazing Pianos. In January 1999, he received an offer that would change his life, the opportunity to play in Las Vegas at the famed New York, New York Hotel and Casino. It was there that Billy Joel spotted him and joined him on stage. It took only two songs before Joel was convinced that he had found his new Piano Man. Cavanaugh closed up shop in Las Vegas and moved to New York City to work alongside Billy Joel and Twyla Tharp to shape the Broadway musical that would be called Movin’ Out. The rest, as they say, is Broadway history. Cavanaugh went on to appear with the show for three years, with more than 1200 performances, as well as Grammy and Tony award nominations.
When the show ended in 2005, Cavanaugh began touring with a show that reinterpreted the modern pop/rock songbook and the music of Billy Joel and Elton John. He became one of the hottest artists in the private events market, performing at corporate and charity events worldwide and at sporting events, including PGA Tour events, the Super Bowl and the Indy 500. Reuters recognized him as Entertainer of the Year for the private event market.
It wasn’t long before symphony orchestras discovered Michael Cavanaugh’s talent and audience appeal. His first orchestra booking, “Michael Cavanaugh - The Songs of Billy Joel and More,” debuted with the Indianapolis Symphony and continues to tour today. He now has four symphony shows celebrating the music of a variety of artists and one show, “Rockin’ Christmas with the Pops,” that celebrates the season. He tours with all four shows as well as performing with his own band. In 2020, he reached the POLLSTAR Live75 for the top 75 active touring acts.
Billy Joel chose Michael Cavanaugh to be his “Piano Man.” You’ll love him just the way he is.