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Billy Joel’s documentary to screen as one-night only engagement

HollywoodNews.com: Newmarket Films, in association with Wrekin Hill, will release the acclaimed Billy Joel documentary feature film “The Last Play at Shea” on October 21, 2010 as a one-night only engagement at over 120 theaters across the country in such major cities as New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, Chicago, Boston, Las Vegas, Philadelphia, Dallas, and Washington, D.C.. In addition, several venues will extend the film for a traditional theatrical run. The film was produced by Exclusive’s Spitfire Pictures Label and Billy Joel’s Maritime Pictures. The announcement was made today by Nigel Sinclair, CEO and Co-Chairman of Exclusive Media Group (“Exclusive”) and Newmarket Films (“Newmarket”), Chris Ball, CEO and President of Wrekin Hill Entertainment (“Wrekin Hill”) and Steve Cohen of Maritime Pictures.

The intersecting histories of a landmark stadium, a volatile baseball team, and a music legend are examined in a film that charts the ups and downs of the New York Mets and the life and career of Long Island native Billy Joel. When Joel learned that he would be giving the last musical performance at Shea Stadium, he decided to capture the event on film and then create a unique motion picture that would also tell the story of Shea stadium itself, and its place in the New York and Long Island history. Joel brought on board his long-time collaborator Steve Cohen to produce the film and they turned to Spitfire Pictures as a partner. Directed by Paul Crowder, “The Last Play at Shea,” weaves interviews with players and performers with exclusive concert footage—featuring guests like Tony Bennett, Garth Brooks, John Mayer and Roger Daltrey, among others. The shows staged on July 16 and July 18, 2008, before a combined 110,000 fans, were the last performances ever to play the historic stadium. After 45 years, two Mets’ World Series victories, and a concert that introduced the Beatles to America, the last section of Shea Stadium was torn down and replaced by CitiField. “The Last Play at Shea’ was one of the most memorable concerts I have ever performed,” said Billy Joel. This uniquely American story is told through the voice of the working class Mets Fan – the incomparable Billy Joel as it takes the viewer on a nostalgic and emotional journey through the history of Queens, NY and the emergence of the suburban middle class, the tale of one Long Islanders’ road to superstardom, the historic stadium and the teams and fans that inhabited it, and a seminal moment in Rock and Roll history coming full circle from the day the Beatles christened Shea Stadium as a cultural icon.

“The Last Play at Shea” premiered earlier this year at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival. It was also screened on August 21, 2010 at CitiField, making it the biggest outdoor movie presentation since 1919. The film is produced by Sinclair of Exclusive/Newmarket and Steve Cohen, who has served as Billy Joel’s concert production designer /director for 36 consecutive years and has produced live tours for such acts as Elton John, Justin Timberlake, and The Eagles. Executive producers are Todd Kamelhar, Greg Whiteley and Glen Zipper.

“So many wonderful ball players and sportsmen, rock stars and entertainers, great storytellers and writers contributed to this film,” says Sinclair. “We are thrilled with the chance to share it with a wider audience.”

Notes Ball: “After the tremendous reception the film received at both the Tribeca Film Festival and to a crowd of over 25,000 people at CitiField, we decided to give theater goers across the country the opportunity to see the film. We are confident that anyone who is a fan of music, sports, or New York history will be drawn to this fascinating documentary.”

“At every screening, audiences have responded in a very emotional way,” says producer Cohen. “The story melds music, history and the culture of suburbia in a way that is so relatable to people that they emerge from the film beaming. It’s a love letter to New York for sure, but more than that it’s truly an American Tale. I’m so excited that audiences across the country will have a chance to enjoy the film, and get to spend 90 minutes ‘forgetting about life for a while.”

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Linny Lum is a lifestyle, celebrity, and pop culture multimedia writer.

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