Another ‘jukebox musical’

Musicals based on a popular artist’s back catalog have been consistently big box-office performers in London’s West End ever since “Mamma Mia,” the musical based on the songs of Abba, premiered in 1999. Since then, Queen and Rod Stewart-based musicals have been hits, capitalizing on the audience’s familiarity with the songs of these artists. It was only a matter of time, then, before Billy Joel, whose many hits are well-suited to a big Broadway sound, got the “jukebox musical” treatment. “Movin’ Out,” set to 24 songs penned by native New Yorker Joel, runs from July 27-Sept. 2 at Tokyo Kosei Nenkin Kaikan.

More surprising is that the choreography comes courtesy of critics’ darling Twyla Tharp. “Movin’ Out” was conceived by Tharp and opened in Chicago in 2002 before going on to Broadway where it made more than $100 million.

Differentiating “Movin’ Out” from other jukebox musicals is its use of spoken dialogue, or rather lack of it. Instead, the story — which starts in the 1960s and goes on to describe the characters’ experience of the Vietnam War — is told solely through Joel’s songs, sung and performed by a live band.

Tickets for “Movin’ Out” are 8,000 yen, 10,000 yen and 12,000 yen. For further info (in Japanese), visit www.movinout.jp or call Kyodo Tokyo at (03) 3498-6666.