I love Carole King.
A wonderful songwriter with an equally wonderful life story. How do I know this? People, I thought you’d never ask.
Recently I went to see “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical” at the Pantages theater near my house and I just really want to tell you all about it.
My dad dropped me off in my usual location, right next to the entrance of the Pantages on Hollywood Boulevard. Hollywood Boulevard, if you’ve never walked on it before, is cray, people. It’s a mixture of kind of fancy places that youngish people go to sometimes eat and mostly drink, shops that may or may not be safe to enter, and a theater. I waved to my father and tried to run in high heels towards the ticket-taking line. It was slightly successful.
The usher looked in my purse with a flashlight, took my ticket, and let me in the theater. I always get very nervous when they shine the flashlight into my purse because first of all I my purse is a mess and has coins and bills and candy and scraps of paper I had no reason for keeping but did all over the bottom and I feel like the usher is always judging me. Also, I’m always scared I have some sort of nail file lying around in there somewhere and that they might think I’m going to try to stab people or something.
Anyway, they gave me my Playbill and I bought some five dollar jellybeans at the concession stand.
Goodbye new nail polish that I was planning to buy.
And then I stumbled into the mezzanine and tried not to impale older women with my heels. Yes, the audience was mostly made up of women in their fifties and sixties. I kind of identify with that demographic, so I was like, great, fine. So I sat down and started reading my Playbill with gusto which obviously is the only way to read it. There was a group of the before-mentioned older women next to me and they were really excited and were talking about their no-good sons or something. I tried to listen whilst appearing to be very occupied with Cruises With Actual Freaking Chita Rivera Performing While You’re On The Cruise which was featured in my Playbill. After a long time, the lights dimmed and Abby Mueller who was playing Carole King came out onto the stage and began to play the only set piece, a piano. I was like, yo, nice job set designers. Piano-players forever.
Abby Mueller was wearing that signature Carnegie Hall long blue Carole King dress. The older woman started just generally freaking out.
After the opening song, the scene went to Carole King’s childhood home where Carole was just about to go pitch a song and from there on it spanned her life up until her performance at Carnegie Hall. I don’t want to spoil it for you in case you go see it, but I’ll tell you my thoughts. I don’t typically adore juke-box musicals (a musical where the songs aren’t original) but I liked this one. It definitely wasn’t any Les Miserables, but it was really good.
The way the songs were set into the story wasn’t too stilted although I felt like they squeezed Natural Woman in.
But, I mean, they had to, right?
The dance numbers which featured actresses and actors playing different legends like Little Eva performing the songs that Carole King, her partner Jerry Goffin and their “rivals”, Cynthia Wile and Barry Mann had written for them.
Those older women loved that part. And, uh, so did the blonde teenager who was eating Jellybeans like popcorn (I’m admitting it, okay? Judgment free zone here.) There was a woman and her son who was probably in his late teens sitting in front of me and I got kind of angry at one point because I felt like they weren’t clapping enough. Yeah, me bumping your seats with my high heel was totally an accident.
Okay, well, I really liked seeing “Beautiful”. If you ever get a chance and are a big Carole King fan, I totally recommend seeing it, but don’t expect an super Hamiltonian experience. And at the end they did a sing-along to “I Feel The Earth Move”. So. Ya know. Pretty fab. Gotta go, love you people!