Middleburg Heights Native Michael Cavanaugh Keeps Playing 'Piano Man'

Michael Cavanaugh playing piano [Michael Cavanaugh]
[Michael Cavanaugh]
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Meeting your musical idol is thrilling enough, but having him pick you to portray him onstage takes things to the next level.

It also propelled the career of a musician from Middleburg Heights.

Michael Cavanaugh comes home to play the music of Billy Joel and Elton John Friday night in Playhouse Square.

Cavanaugh grew up a huge fan of Joel, in particular. As he explained to ideastream’s Dee Perry in 2011, a chance meeting with Joel led to him landing the role as the “Piano Man” in the 2002 Broadway musical “Moving Out.”

“I was working at a dueling piano bar in Las Vegas,” he said. “I got a call that he was going to come hear me play that night at the piano bar.”

After Joel listened to him play for a while, Cavanaugh said Joel joined him on another piano and they jammed together.

“He didn’t want to play any of his stuff, he wanted to do like Beatles and Elvis,” Cavanaugh said.

 Cavanaugh went on to receive Tony and Grammy award nominations for his Broadway role as Joel in “Moving Out.” Cavanaugh continues playing concerts of his music as well as songs by Sir Elton.

Listen to an archive of a Michael Cavanaugh performance and interview for ideastream in 2011 in the audio player above. 

 

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