PORTLAND – “Movin’ Out,” the Tony Award-winning musical conceived, choreographed and directed by the legendary Twyla Tharp and based on 24 classic songs by pop-rock icon Billy Joel, will move into Merrill Auditorium March 25, 26 and 27.

The Broadway touring production of the Tharp-Joel collaboration, presented by PCA Great Performances, will begin at 7:30 p.m. each evening.

The Portland engagement marks the Maine premiere of the show that critics say revolutionized musical theater as we know it. Time magazine called the production “so soul-stirring, it practically bursts out of the theater.”

Told through Tharp’s extraordinary dance and Joel’s greatest songs performed by a live rock ‘n’ roll band, “Movin’ Out” is the story of several lifelong friends living through two turbulent decades that change them and the world around them. The songs and dance take the audience through a narrative that follows a trajectory from post-World War II idealism through the Vietnam War and its subsequent unrest to stories of survival and reconciliation.

Audiences will recognize the main characters in “Movin’ Out” because they come straight from master storyteller Joel’s evocative lyrics. There are Brenda and Eddie from “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant,” Tony and Sergeant O’Leary from “Movin’ Out,” Judy from “Why, Judy, Why” and James from “James.”

Creator-director-choreographer Tharp said the characters’ stories are told “completely through song and dance. There is no dialogue whatsoever. The movement and the action tell the story – the experience, the emotional resonance, comes from action.”

Tickets are $60, $52, and $45. They are available through PortTix, the box office at Merrill Auditorium; by calling 842.0800; and at www.porttix.com or www.pcagreatperformances.org.

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