You’ve heard the songs, now see the story behind their creation as Beautiful The Carole King Musical plays at The Arts Club Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage, until August 6, 2023.
Telling the story of the legendary singer-songwriter Carole King from the beginning of her career to her iconic Tapestry album, Beautiful The Carole King Musical opens in 1971 with Carole welcoming the audience to Carnegie Hall. Played by Langley-local Kaylee Harwood, in flashback, we find young 16 year old Carole Klein at home in Brooklyn, trying to convince her mother that music-writing is her destiny, not teaching as hoped by her mother. Heading into New York City, she sells her first song to impresario Don Kirshner(Kirk Smith). Soon, Carole and the audience, meet writing-partner and future husband, Gerry Goffin (Daniel Curalli) a pairing destined to be ‘going all the way to the top’. Next door, songwriters Barry Mann (Kamyar Pazandeh) and Cynthia Weil (Daniela Fernandez) also aim to top the charts, sparking a lifelong competitive friendship. The songwriting duos churn out a stunning streak of hit songs while working for Don Kirshner, creating a music catalogue that crosses generations. The writers churn out hits like Some Kind of Wonderful, Take Good Care Of My Baby, Who Put The Bomp, Will You Love Me Tomorrow, Up On The Roof, On Broadway, The Locomotion, You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling, One Fine Day and more through the first act. While their professional careers goes from #1 to #1 to #1, Carole and Gerry’s marriage struggles as the decade wears on, mirroring Cynthia and Barry’s growing relationship.
In Act II, as the 60s wind the hits keep coming; Walking In The Rain, Pleasant Valley Sunday, We Gotta Get Out Of This Place reflect the changing times. A now single Carole finds strength and inspiration for her solo career and a move west to Laurel Canyon in Los Angeles. Working with famed producer Lou Adler to create her groundbreaking Tapestry album, and its iconic track listing including; (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman, It’s Too Late, You’ve Got A Friend, I Feel The Earth Move, and Beautiful. The success of the award-winning album brings Carole back to New York and her 1971 Carnegie Hall performance to wrap the show.
Director Ashley Corcoran keeps the show feeling grand but full of personal moments as attentions shifts between the chart topping excitement and character dynamics. Cory Sincennes’ creative multi-turntable set design adapts the intimate Stanley Stage from the songwriters offices of 1650 Broadway into The Bitter End night club, and between suburban homes and recording studios in seamless changes as though part of Julie Tomaino’s smooth choreography.
Led by a superb performance from Kaylee Harwood, a veteran of the musical’s national tour, the entire company is engaging and more than matches the Billboard topping performers; The Shirelles, The Drifters, Little Eva, The Righteous Brothers, Neil Sedaka and others. Daniel Curalli finds a perfect balance as the talented and tortured Gerry Goffin. A charismatic and comedic turn by Kamyar Pazandeh counters the serious and straight leading couple. The news of the passing of Cynthia Weil on June 1st brings extra poignancy to Daniela Fernandez’s bold and brilliant performance as the Hall of Fame songwriter.
Just like the variety of music created by these famed songwriters, the diverse cast of Beautiful The Carole King Musical comes together to form a superb songbook that’s sure to get your feet and emotions moving, perhaps you’ll even “feel the earth move’.