Movin' Out - Movin' On
Prior to this my only other Broadway experience was four nights at the Lunt Fontaine Theater with Joan Jett. Technically, that wasn't a true Broadway production. Of course, Movin' Out was and included all the bells and whistles that come along with such.
I had more than a good time doing this show. Everyone from the band to the dancers to the stage crew always made me feel welcomed and appreciated.
I went into the show thinking I'd do a few here and there when I had the time to anticipating the days when I got the chance to drive into Manhattan, park my car on 48th Street, walk the 2 blocks to the theater, grab a coffee and a bite to eat at Dean & Deluca's opposite the theater and tell the cashier, "I'm working across the street" to get my 10% discount on my purchase.
I've always been a big fan of Billy Joel's. I thought his songwriting was of the highest order. Mainly because the genre of his music was so close to my own pop sensibilities. To be playing his songs in the show was a real honor for me only surpassed by the level of musicianship that I was surrounded with each time I climbed the 'travelator' to tune the electric and acoustic guitars for that evenings performance. Not only was I playing rhythm guitar - something I always find refreshing - I was also lucky enough to be able to switch a few times to playing the bass guitar on the show. I'm pretty sure I was the only guy during the run that could boast to playing two chairs on separate instruments.
I'd like to thank Tommy Byrnes, Billy's Guitarist for allowing me to 'sit in' for him for the past year.
I learned a lot from this experience ... Michael Cavanaugh, the original Piano Man was cool and confident whenever he performed and Wade Preston, second Piano Man was the epitome of soul. Both guys amazed me as to how easy they made it look, knowing full well that playing and singing those songs was anything BUT easy.
Greg Smith, the Bass Player is a monster and I have to thank him for giving me the chance to stand in his position a few times. Each time I did play Bass, I was always so nervous about making obvious mistakes. Unfortunately, each time I did, I was unabashedly razzed by the rest of the band.
The horn section was a total hoot. Constantly cracking jokes before, after and DURING the performance. The funniest time for me was when, before the show, all four Horn Players took some magic markers and drew Rose Tattoos on their arms. Half way through the show that night, I was tapped on my shoulder and made to turn around only to see them with their sleeves rolled up showing off their arms similarly decorated to my own. Needless to say I screwed up royally after witnessing that. I feigned disappointment at being made fun of but knew that it was their way of telling me I was 'one of them'.
I'm sad it's over. I'll miss those Monday calls from John telling me, "I have Wednesday matinee, Friday, Saturday and Sunday open, which ones can you do?".
Unlike other shows, on and off Broadway this one was special. It was a big family with everyone watching over everyone else.
I'll miss it. The pre-show dresing room banter, the dinner between shows on doubles, the hang before, during and after.
I'm blessed to have done it and made some great friends on the journey that will stay close to me long after these memories fade.