Cautionary Tales – Bless the jet-black hearts of Broadway critics

When Billy Joel agreed to let dance legend Twyla Tharp turn his songs into a Broadway musical, it seemed like a surefire hit. But in previews, Movin’ Out was panned by critics. It was soon directed to Broadway and was to be a costly and embarrassing failure. So how could Twyla turn things around and prevent disaster before the premiere?

Cautionary Tales is written by me, Tim Harford, with Andrew Wright. It is produced by Ryan Dilly with support from Courtney Guarino and Emily Vaughn.

Sound design and original music by Pascal Weiss. Julia Barton edited the scripts.

Thanks to the Pushkin Industries team, including Mia Lobel, Jacob Weisberg, Heather Fein, John Schnaars, Carly Migliori, Eric Sandler, Emily Rostek, Royston Beserve, Maggie Taylor, Nicole Morano, Danielle Lahan and Maya Koenig.

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Further reading and listening

I first heard about this story from Twyla Tharp herself, in her brilliant book creative habit. Other sources include reports from Patriot-News, Newsweek, Newsday, Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Tribune, New York Pulse, and New York Times.

Particularly helpful is Robin Pogrebin’s report.Move on from mistakes New York Times, December 12, 2002

Documentary, Flying web condoris an important source on this topic.