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Michael Cavanaugh is the new voice of the American Rock & Roll Songbook and a charismatic performer and musician made famous for his piano/lead vocals in the Broadway musical Movin’ Out. Handpicked by Billy Joel to star in Movin’ Out, Cavanaugh evokes a style rivaling Joel. He appeared in the show for three years with over 1,200 performances and received multiple accolades. The show culminated in 2003 with both Grammy and Tony award nominations.
Michael began playing at age seven, when his parents bought their first piano. Encouraged by family and friends, and inspired by his hero Billy Joel, Michael formed his first band at age 10 and began playing local functions, fine-tuning the craft that would become his chosen career. His first full-time gig as a musician was an extended engagement in Orlando, Florida, at a piano bar called Blazing Pianos. In January of 1999, Michael received an offer that would unknowingly change his life: an opportunity to play Las Vegas at the famed New York, New York Hotel and Casino. It was there that Billy Joel spotted Michael and joined him on stage one fateful night of February 2001. It only took two songs before Billy was convinced that he had found his new Piano Man: Michael Cavanaugh. Michael closed up shop at New York, New York and moved to New York City to work alongside Billy Joel and Twyla Tharp to shape the Broadway Musical that would ultimately become Movin’ Out. In the lead role, he received both Tony and Grammy nominations.
With the close of Movin’ Out at the end of 2005, Michael began touring, creating a show that reinterprets the modern pop/rock songbook. Michael soon became one of the hottest artists in the private events market, and he continues to perform worldwide for company and charity events as well as sporting events including many PGA tour events, the Super Bowl, and the Indy 500. His interpretation of the modern rock/pop songbook led to Billboard calling him “The New Voice of the American Rock and Roll Songbook,” and he was recognized by Reuters as Entertainer of the Year for the private events market.
It wasn’t long after Michael began doing private gigs that symphony orchestras discovered his musical talents and audience appeal. He accepted his first orchestral booking, “Michael Cavanaugh – The Songs of Billy Joel and More,” which debuted in April 2008 with the Indianapolis Symphony and continues to tour today. In October 2008, he signed with Warner/ADA to distribute his first CD, In Color. In June 2010, Michael debuted his second symphony show in the Generations of Rock series titled “Michael Cavanaugh: The Songs of Elton John and More” and then debuted his third symphony show, “Singers and Songwriters: the Music of Paul Simon, Neil Diamond and James Taylor,” in 2012. In 2015, he debuted his fourth symphony show: “Rockin’ Christmas with the Pops.” He continues to tour all four symphony productions along with performing with his band in performing arts centers and other public venues.
“The Way I Hear It”, his second commercial album, was released in April 2017, and it debuted at #17 on the Billboard Heatseakers chart.
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