The youngest of four boys, Michael Cavanaugh – singer-songwriter, pianist, and actor – was born in 1972 in Cleveland, Ohio. His older brothers were all musical, and Cavanaugh himself began playing the piano at the age of seven. When he was thirteen, his aunt introduced him to Broadway shows; they came from Ohio to New York to see 42nd Street and The King and I (and Yul Brynner). Even then, the young Cavanaugh rightly predicted that he would eventually be on the Broadway stage.
Cavanaugh, who had played at the piano bar in the New York, New York Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, was eventually picked by Billy Joel himself to star in the 2002 Broadway jukebox musical Movin’ Out, based on Joel’s songs and music, with choreography by Twyla Tharp. The musical was largely a sequence of dances with songs performed by a band on an elevated platform. Cavanaugh – playing the piano while singing in true Billy Joel fashion – represented the famous Piano Man, and the action on stage, as shown by the dancers, focused on the lives of young Americans in 1960s Long Island and their responses to the Vietnam War. The Tony®-winning production at the Richard Rodgers Theatre was tremendously successful, running for 1,303 performances. Cavanaugh, best known for his work in Movin’ Out, earned a Tony® nomination for Best Featured Actor in a Musical and can be heard on the original cast recording.
Soon after Movin’ Out Michael began recording and touring, often performing for corporations such as Microsoft and GE, sporting events (including the US Open), the Indy 500, and celebrations throughout the United States and Europe. In 2006 he and his band played at Mohegan Sun’s Cabaret Theater.