Joel, Tharp tuner 'Movin'' to Chi town

NEW YORK — No longer called “Thoel,” the new Billy Joel-Twyla Tharp musical will get a more mellifluous moniker, “Movin’ Out,” for its upcoming Broadway debut.

Conceived, choreographed and directed by Tharp, the show is based on 26 songs and instrumental compositions by Joel and tells the story of six friends from 1967 to 1987.

“Movin’ Out” will play a six-week world premiere engagement at Chicago’s Shubert Theater from June 25 to Aug. 4 before going to Gotham, where it opens on Broadway at the Richard Rodgers Theater on Oct. 24. James L. Nederlander, Hal Luftig and Emanuel Azenberg are the producers.

After Abba’s “Mamma Mia” success, the rock songbook tuners are definitely a trend.

The first reading for the new Bruce Springsteen tuner, “Drive All Night,” looks ready for early March. Stephanie Kerly Schwartz and Darrell Larson of the Culture Project conceived the project, a sung-through rock opera about a man who returns to his home town years after high school graduation.

New musical “Can’t Help Falling in Love” is based on Elvis Presley hit songs, with book by Joe DiPietro. Last spring, the show had its first reading and won the blessing of the Presley estate. Since Presley didn’t actually write the songs he made famous, a few publishers and songwriters were also present and duly impressed. DiPietro expects a full workshop in the fall.

Summer season heats up

Producers Chase Mishkin and Leonard Soloway are proceeding with their “Urban Cowboy” musical. After a workshop of the show last December, the two producers gave up their dibs on the Ambassador Theater, leading some observers to gossip that the show had been scuttled. Not so, said Mishkin, who called the 1,125-seat venue too small for such a large-scale musical.

True to her word, Mishkin is now looking at a preem this summer.

Newcomer Caroline McMahon will reprise the role of Sissy (played by Debra Winger in the film) in the Broadway production of “Urban Cowboy.” And Phil Oesterman remains on board to helm.

As for that larger-than-the-Ambassador theater, Mishkin says there’ll be no problem securing one after the usual post-Tony Awards fallout in June. Such high-profile productions as the new musical “Hairspray” and the Stanley Tucci–Edie Falco starrer “Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune” have already been announced for August debuts.

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