I am no stranger to the Carole King experience.

I listened to many Goffin – King hits in the 60s, although who wrote them back then seemed to be less important than who sang them. I was front row center to hear Carole’s collaboration with James Taylor in the early 70s, and blown away by her Tapestry LP in 1971. I have seen a number of documentaries about her life.

So I knew what to expect from “Beautiful” the musical. Sarah and Dave gave us tickets to see it as a Christmas gift, and we caught the show on this past weekend.

But “Beautiful” isn’t just about Carole and Gerry. Although most of the book revolves around her early life and dysfunctional marriage relationship with her writing partner, there is a second songwriting couple featured – Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil. These two friends and competitors for a #1 hit are almost as important in the scheme of things. There are lots of laughs, but sadness too – in both couples’ lives.

AS a result, the audience gets to hear the best of arguably the two finest songwriting teams ever. Leiber and Stoller fans may disagree.

It’s the music that carries the show. That and the hard-working ensemble cast that portrays the Drifters, Righteous Brothers, Coasters, Shirelles, Chiffons, Cookies, Neil Sedaka – well you get the idea.

The show begins with Carole selling her first hit song and ends with her Tapestry album performance at Carnegie Hall. In between we got to hear an amazing collection of 60s pop.

It’s a wonderful show for us Boomers – but the younger folks in the audience loved it too. Simply Beautiful.

Published by Ray MacDonald

Ray MacDonald is a retired food scientist who lives in Almonte, ON.
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