This afternoon Earl and I saw the musical “Beautiful,” about the life of composer and songstress Carole King. It truly was beautiful but not at all what I expected. I’d assumed it would be mostly about King, whose career spanned the early years of rock ‘n’ roll to today. She still tours.
It’s fair to say King was front and center in the musical, but it was really about the emergence of rock ‘n’ roll and how it changed over the years. It was important that composers and lyricists change with it, or their careers were over.
The musical portrays King’s relationship with Gerry Goffin (whom she married), Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil, and others. It gives credence to her early abilities when, as a sixteen year old, she sells a song that makes the Top 200. And it gives equal credence to her move to LA after her divorce from Goffin and her commitment to record her own songs.
In between, the audience is treated to a retrospective of 1960s music. Earl leaned over to me after the intermission and said, “I like this better than ‘Jersey Boys,’ which we’ve seen three times. I suspect we’ll be back.