New musical brings Carole King's life, music to Broadway stage

Tue Nov 26, 2013 4:29pm EST
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By Patricia Reaney

NEW YORK (Reuters) - While most teenagers in the early 1960s were swooning over the pop stars, Carole King was busy writing songs for their idols that would send them to the top of the music charts.

From "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow" for The Shirelles and "Take Good Care of My Baby" for Bobby Vee to "The Loco-Motion" for Little Eva, King and her first husband Gerry Goffin penned a string of hits before she launched a solo career and produced her 1971 multiple Grammy Award-winning second album "Tapestry."

"Beautiful - The Carole King Musical," a new play in previews that opens on January 12 on Broadway, charts the rise of the songwriter, born Carol Klein in Brooklyn, from her early days as a teenager working with Goffin and songwriters Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil in New York's songwriting hub at 1650 Broadway through her divorce and move to California.

"It's an embarrassment of riches," director Marc Bruni said in an interview about the catalog of music King, 71, produced.

The songs, including "So Far Away," "It's Too Late," "Up on the Roof" and "I Feel the Earth Move," and the story of how she wrote her first hit at 17 and went on to become a chart-topping music legend, were an irresistible combination for Bruni.

"The idea that she was so young and she came to 1650 Broadway with her husband and collaborator Gerry Goffin and wrote these songs of a generation, and the opportunity to tell that story was very attractive to me," said Bruni.


Actress Jessie Mueller, who earned a Tony nomination for her role opposite Harry Connick Jr. in 2011's "On a Clear Day You Can See Forever," plays King, while former "Spider-Man Turn off the Dark" star Jake Epstein is Goffin. Anika Larsen ("Avenue Q") and Jarrod Spector ("Jersey Boys") portray their best friends Weil and Mann.   Continued...

Performers sing onstage during the "Beautiful - The Carole King Musical" press preview at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre in New York, November 21, 2013. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri