Beautiful, The Carole King Musical

Good luck getting tickets to The San Francisco world-premiere engagement of the Broadway-aimed Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, starring Tony Award nominee Jessie Mueller as the Grammy Award-winning musician, because it has sold out its entire run at the Curran Theatre. I would however, consider trying anyway.

I can remember when I first felt deeply connected to Carole King. Perhaps it was driving to my boyfriend’s house in college and cry-singing (doing both at the same time) to So Far Away. Then Natural Woman played in my head everytime I was in the shower (thanks to the movie, Big Chill). Anyway my point is, for many of us in our 40s and beyond, Carole King has written dozens or more of the songs that eased our pain, loneilness or in the case of You’ve Got To Get Up Every Morning got us up and moving beyond whatever drama was pulling us down.

Hence when I heard that Beautiful, The Carole King Musical was coming to San Francisco, I brought my 12 year old daughter, Natalie for a memorable evening. Sushi at our favorite pre-show dinner spot, Sushi Boat, then a show. We were planning to leave at intermission, however at the end of the first act Natalie declared, it was her favorite musical ever and wanted to see how it ended. Considering she has been my go-to date for musicals since she was five, this means something. Glad we stayed. For those intermission duckers, try to stick it out, you’ll be happy you stayed.

Why did my daughter who wasn’t familiar with King’s music love it? Besides the music, the story is inspiring. As portrayed in her life story, Carole King is a hard worker, really smart, pratical, funny and not a diva. Good stuff for kids and adults.

Writer Douglas McGrath spent time with the four main characters; Carole, her ex-husband and co-writer, Gerry Goffin, and their studio mates Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil in order to get their sides of the story. Mutual admiration, respect and an undeniable bow to Carole’s talent and integrety must have been what McGrath heard, because that’s how the story was written.

From Home Again, I Feel the Earth Move, to Tapestry and You’ve Got a Friend, I challenge anyone who grew up in her era, to not sing along. 

Here’s what others have written:

SF-Gate  If you didn’t love King before, you should be won over by the charming and ever-more impressive Jessie Mueller, who plays her in this Broadway-bound musical bio. If you’re leery of yet another jukebox musical, all doubts should be blown away by the bounteous, boisterous, musically precise “1650 Broadway Medley” that sets the scene, time and cultural context, lifts the heart and kicks the show into high gear. Long before she was Carole King, chart-topping music legend, she was Carol Klein, Brooklyn girl with passion and chutzpah. She fought her way into the record business as a teenager and, by the time she reached her twenties, had the husband of her dreams and a flourishing career writing hits for the biggest acts in rock ‘n’ roll. But it wasn’t until her personal life began to crack that she finally managed to find her true voice. Beautiful tells the inspiring true story of King’s remarkable rise to stardom, from being part of a hit songwriting team with her husband Gerry Goffin, to her relationship with fellow writers and best friends Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann, to becoming one of the most successful solo acts in popular music history. Along the way, she made more than beautiful music, she wrote the soundtrack to a generation.

Mimi Towle

Mimi Towle has been the editor of Marin Magazine for over a decade. She lived with her family in Sycamore Park and Strawberry and thoroughly enjoyed raising two daughters in the mayhem of Marin’s youth sports; soccer, swim, volleyball, ballet, hip hop, gymnastics and many many hours spent at Miwok Stables. Her community involvements include volunteering at her daughter’s schools, coaching soccer and volleyball (glorified snack mom), being on the board of both Richardson Bay Audubon Center. Currently residing on a floating home in Sausalito, she enjoys all water activity, including learning how to steer a 6-person canoe for the Tamalpais Outrigger Canoe Club. Born and raised in Hawaii, her fondness for the islands has on occasion made its way into the pages of the magazine.