Cavanaugh, Prot?g? of Billy Joel to Perform with TSO

Daily Dose  |  03/13/2019 4:00 pm

American pianist, singer-songwriter, and composer Billy Joel is considered to be one of the greatest solo artists of all time. Since releasing his first hit song Piano Man in 1973, Joel has become a multi-million-selling recording artist. Michael Cavanaugh, hand-picked by Billy Joel himself to star as lead role in the Broadway musical Movin’ Out, joins the Toledo Symphony Orchestra (TSO) for a one-night-only performance on Saturday, April 13, 2019 at the Toledo Museum of Art’s Peristyle Theater to perform the greatest rock hits, including Uptown Girl, You May Be Right, New York State of Mind, and other songs that Billboard called “the new voice of the American Rock and Roll songbook.”

Michael Cavanaugh is a charismatic performer and musician made famous for his piano/lead vocals in the Broadway musical Movin’ Out. He appeared in the show for 3 years with over 1,200 performances, and received multiple accolades. In 2003, the show received both Grammy and Tony Award nominations.

“Cavanaugh and his energetic band will be backed by more than 50 TSO musicians for a massive collaboration on stage,” says Zak Vassar, President & CEO of the Toledo Symphony. “Billy Joel’s music is a national treasure and speaks to everyone. Michael Cavanaugh is uniquely suited to channel Billy Joel’s spirit, and his energy is intoxicating. This is the perfect opportunity to let loose and enjoy what’s really become an American soundtrack!”

Cavanaugh began playing piano at age 7, when his parents bought their first piano. Encouraged by family and friends, and inspired by his hero, Billy Joel, he formed his first band at age 10. His first full-time gig as a musician was in Orlando, Florida at a piano bar called Blazing Pianos. In 1999, Michael was offered an opportunity to play Las Vegas at the famed New York, New York Hotel and Casino. In 2001, Billy Joel spotted Cavanaugh and joined him on stage. Cavanaugh moved to New York City to work alongside Billy Joel and Twyla Tharp, to shape the Broadway musical Movin’ Out.

“With each of our KeyBank Pops concerts, we strive to bring high quality, exciting performances to the area,” says Vassar. “Michael Cavanaugh not only brings first-class musicianship to the stage, but also a personal style that will make it an intimate evening for the audience and orchestra. This is enhanced by the fact that we’ll be performing at the Peristyle, which is a great room to share big musical experiences in. It’s going to be ‘that show’ everyone raves about for years to come.”

Michael Cavanaugh: The Music of Billy Joel will take place on Saturday, April 13, 2019 at 8 PM at the Toledo Museum of Art’s Peristyle Theater. Tickets start at $37 and are available at or by calling the box office at 419.246.8000.

For more information, please contact Felecia Kanney, Director of Marketing for the Toledo Symphony at [email protected].