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Beautiful – The Carole King Musical

Beautiful: The Carole King Musical is back in San Francisco this August.



For those who spent their formative years soothed by the lyrics of the uber talented Carole King, we’ve got some good news. Beautiful: The Carole King Musical will return to San Francisco at the SHN Orpheum Theatre August 9 – September 18. To learn more about the creation of her story, we talked with writer Douglas McGrath, who penned the story. McGrath is a filmmaker and playwright based in New York and has collaborated with Woody Allen on the screenplay for Bullets Over Broadway, wrote and directed an adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma as well as the award-winning Nicholas Nickleby. His essays have appeared in the New Yorker, The New Republic, Vanity Fair and The New York Times.

1. The play was here in San Francisco already, is it any different?

Our original time in San Francisco was very helpful for the show. We changed the opening number from “Home Again” to “So Far Away.” We tried “You've Got A Friend” in two spots, both of which didn’t work so we took it out! The song means so much to people that I realized it needed its own special scene but there wasn’t enough time in SF with everything else we had to do to write it. Once I got back to New York, I wrote the scene where “You've Got A Friend” is now. It didn’t happen in SF, but it couldn’t have happened without SF. Plus, I made loads of cuts there, changed lots of jokes, tightened many scenes. The audiences were very smart and helpful— and, luckily for us, supportive.

2. What is the overall message.

The show has a simple message and Carole herself says it in the first scene: “You know what’s so funny about life? Sometimes it goes the way you want and sometimes it doesn’t. And sometimes when it doesn’t, you find something beautiful.” And she shows us through her own insecurities as a young girl and her struggle to find herself as a singer songwriter that there is nothing more beautiful than talent.

3 Where you a fan of Carole King?

I was a fan of Carole’s but I knew nothing about her personal life so the show was a joy for me on a few levels— the pleasures of sitting with and thinking about the music as I wrote the show, and the fascination and then the admiration I felt in hearing and learning her story.


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