If you are a baby boomer I am directing your attention to the Kennedy Center and their current production of Beautiful. Why baby boomers, of which I am one? Because the story is about the early years of prolific singer, songwriter Carole King and you will know all the music. Basically music you grew up with.
OK, you want examples, how about some of the songs made into hits by The Drifters, Up on the Roof and Some Kind of Wonderful for starters. Then let’s add a hit or two from the Shirelles, Will You Love me Tomorrow for one and how about others like Walking in the Rain (The Ronettes), You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling (Righteous Brothes), Be-Bop-A-Lula (Gene Vincent) and He’s Sure the Boy I Love (The Crystals).
The show Beautiful: The Carole King Musical is still running in New York. It has won both Tony and Grammy Awards, and comes from a book by Douglas McGrath. It is directed by Marc Bruni with choreography by Josh Prince.
The music presented in the show comes from more than just the song writing team of Carole King, played by Abby Mueller, and Gerry Goffin, played by Liam Tobin. There’s also lots of music from the successful team of Barry Mann, played by Ben Fankhauser and Cynthia Weil, played by Becky Gulsvig.
There was a bit of professional rivalry between the two teams but they did become very good friends. So the story is about King and her rise to the top of the music industry. It goes behind the scenes and talks about her relationship with Goffin, her relationship with her mother, her initial shyness in front of an audience and how it all began for her.
I heard about the show from people who saw it in New York and it was one I had to see. And man am I glad I did. It was one of those shows where I was sorry it ended. A truly good sign was I didn’t look at my watch one time. I was exhausted after it was over and can only attribute that to the fact my foot was tapping almost the entire show.
In short, I can definitely recommend Beautiful. And by the way, an extra bonus is to see the show in the beautiful Kennedy Center Opera House. There are restaurants on the upper level, parking underneath
and be sure to walk outside on the decks for a great western view of Virginia and Georgetown and to the east many of the monuments of Washington.
Performances are Tuesday through Sunday at 7 and matinees Saturday and Sunday at 1. Tickets start at $39.00. Call 212-467-4600. The Kennedy Center is at 2700 F Street, NW.
Eddie Applefeld is a Baltimore native and a graduate of Towson University. He has been in the broadcasting profession for over 30 years. Currently he is the Promotions Director of WCBM radio. Before that, he was part of the Rouse & Company show on WQSR, host of a cable TV show called Dining Out and adjunct instructor at Towson.
His past accomplishments include being named a finalist in Baltimore Tourism’s Employee of the Year Program and winner of Toastmaster’s Speaker of the Year contest. He was also twice a heartthrob for the American Heart Association’s gala fund raiser.