Feeling Beautiful…

Beautiful0002I am feeling Beautiful…I saw the new Carole King Broadway musical on Tuesday night and oh, what a night.

I am in publicist mode as I want everyone to experience the magic of Beautiful which is based on King’s life and music. I just experienced the joy of Beautiful for the 3rd time and it just keeps getting better.

Much of the music is from Tapestry, one of the most successful albums in pop music history and to this day, still connects to listeners with the remarkably expressive and intimate songs.

Nothing conjures up memories and markers of your past like a great song. I spent over 2 hours reliving my youth and college days, including memorable slow dancing (grinding dates me!) and make out partners…geez, I had a nice line up of boyfriends.

My daughter was there for the show, but also to keep me under control and had a tight grip on my legs as they were dying to bop to the music…gentle nudges kept me silent to prevent a sing along.

I owned 2 Tapestry albums because I wore my first copy out listening to the iconic lp every single day. The songs reflect a chronology of all my collegiate relationships and always left me wondering, Will You Love Me Tomorrow?!

Later in life, King’s song, You’ve Got A Friend, symbolized my relationship with my daughter via, The Gilmore Girls

All you have to do is call
And I’ll be there
You’ve got a friend.

Everything works well in this musical. The singing, dancing, acting, staging and costumes are all perfection. The supporting cast is loaded with talent.

The book, written by Douglas McGrath (Bullets Over Broadway, Emma, Nicholas Nickleby), is clever and to the point, not sappy and tedious like other current Broadway musicals, Motown and Kinky Boots.

The star of the show, Jessie Mueller, is not new to Broadway, having had major parts in, Nice Work If You Can Get It, The Mystery of Edwin Drood and On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, as well as a prior Tony nomination. Now, Mueller is a Tony Award winner for Best Actress in A Musical.

Personally, I think Beautiful is the best new musical on Broadway and should have beaten out, A Gentleman’s Guide To Love And Murder, for the Tony for Best Musical.

Mueller’s voice is so evocative of King that it makes the hair on your arms salute and brought many to tears due to the intensely emotional and illuminating lyrics. I challenge anyone to not recall an intimate moment related to a Tapestry track.

The real life married writing team of composer, Barry Mann and lyricist, Cynthia Weil are prominently featured in the show, as well and are responsible for such classic songs as, You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin, Uptown, Walking In the Rain, We Gotta Get Out of This Place, Don’t Know Much, Blame It on the Bossa Nova and On Broadway.

Jessie Mueller (Carole King) and Jake Epstein (Gerry Goffin)
Jessie Mueller (Carole King) and Jake Epstein (Gerry Goffin)

The friendly competition for the race to produce #1 Billboard chart toppers is compelling. Gerry Goffin (Jake Epstein) who was King’s real life husband and writing partner and father of their 2 daughters, King (Jessie Mueller), Barry Mann ( Jarrod Spector) and Cynthia Weil (Anika Larsen), were prolific writing teams and the actors who portray them are all superb.

Goffin and King team wrote such huge hits as, Up on the Roof, One Fine Day, Pleasant Valley Sunday, You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman, Go Away Little Girl, Don’t Bring Me Down, Chains, Some Kind of Wonderful, Don’t Say Nothin’ Bad About My Baby, The Loco-Motion, Will You Love Me Tomorrow

You will be bowled over by the number of songs the the 2 teams churned out under music publisher, producer-promoter, Don Kirshner’s guidance at the infamous Brill Building in New York City.

They wrote chart busters for The Drifters, The Ronettes, The Animals, The Monkees, The Shirelles, Little Eva (I wanted to get up and dance along to, The Loco-Motion, so badly…did you know that Little Eva was King’s babysitter?!), The Righteous Brothers, among many others.

Beautiful Cast
Beautiful Cast

When it ends, the audience leapt to its’ feet, begging for more.

For a good time and a musically woven Tapestry of your life, especially if you are of a menopausal age or just a fan of great music and song writing,  do the loco-motion over to see, Beautiful.

The musical will make you feel wonderful, witnessing King’s remarkable journey from natural talent to Natural Woman…King rules.

Beautiful, The Carole King Musical, Stephen Sondheim Theatre 124 West 43rd Street, NY.

2 Comments

  1. Toby,

    Finally decided to chime in. I’ve been tempted before as I love your blog and it often provokes some emotion (often laughter) in me.

    This topic is too close and dear to me. Love, love Carole King. Never missed a concert including seeing the original Troubador/Tapestry tour when I was a youngster in Toronto…fast forward to an almost private fundraising concert of her “in the living room” concert and the revisited tour with James Taylor.

    I’m so excited to see this play and reading your review only gets me going faster on booking a ticket back to New York.

    Keep writing and telling it like it is. If you want one of your entries to be your experience working at Indian Wells, get in touch with me.

    xxxxooo your fellow ambassador, Julie

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