The first two CDs I bought with my first fancy shmansy CD player in the mid ’90s were a soundtrack to The Babysitter’s Club Movie (seriously? I am amazed and bemused)… and Tapestry by Carole King. Besides perfectly illustrating my rather eclectic taste in music, it also started my love of that music.
That album reminds me of my adolescence in a weird way, although it was recorded nearly 30 years before I listened to it. It’s just relaxing and reaffirming and comforting in a strangely perfect way.
My musical tastes have definitely evolved and have become a bit more refined over the years, but I always return to Tapestry.
Yesterday, I had the opportunity to see Beautiful The Carole King Musical in San Francisco. I absolutely loved it. I will admit it, I am a Broadway snob. I think the last so-called “jukebox musical” I saw was either Movin’ Out or Jersey Boys, a long time ago. I am a fan of new composers, of thought provoking shows, of soul-shattering acting. But, but… sometimes you just need to relax. Sometimes you just need to not be on the edge of your seat, teeth clenched as Diana Goodman has a mental breakdown in Next to Normal. Sometimes you can and should have fun at a show!
I was thoroughly impressed by the song choices, but what I really noticed was how well the show’s “book” (dialogue) was crafted. It was good! Funny at times, poignant at others, it was just generally high quality. Interestingly enough, I saw Jessie Mueller, the actress who portrays Carole King, in Into the Woods in Shakespeare in the Park in Central Park in 2012. Sondheim to King is quite the change, but she clearly is at home in any genre.
I hope this show does well. It really struck me, as weird as it seems, as a women’s version of Jersey Boys. And I say that in the most complimentary way. A high quality jukebox musical that’s well-acted and well-sung should do well in the current Broadway environment, and I am interested to see how audiences and reviewers in New York respond to this show.
I hope they embrace it, it’s truly Beautiful.