A "Beautiful" Introduction to Rock & Roll...
About six weeks ago, someone reached out to us at A Madison Mom offering me the opportunity to see Beautiful on Broadway, at the Stephen Sondheim Theater. Never one to pass up the chance to see a show, I jumped at the chance to take my daughter.
Since her first broadway show at 5 years old (Annie, of course), my daughter has been hooked! It’s our favorite past time. Having worked backstage many years ago, I love that she has such a passion for theater, like I do.
This marked her 9th Broadway show (lucky duck!) and, although it wasn’t on her list of shows she HAD to see, it certainly made an impression.
I grew up on the music of Carole King. I mean, I grew up listening because my PARENTS were of the her generation. I know the album Tapestry like the back of my hand and could tell you who has covered most of her songs, only, I didn’t even realize how deep my love for Carole King’s music was until I saw this show.
In the days leading up to our special night out, I thought I should probably tell my daughter what the show was about so I had to figure out why it was so important to make a musical about Carole King.
Now, anyone who really knows me can tell you that Miss Aretha Franklin was my all-time absolute lifetime favorite performer. It was probably Aretha that connected me to Carole as a young adult. This was MY connection. Not my mom’s. MINE. And it sealed the deal for me and Carole to continue our relationship as I turned into an independent adult woman.
So, why Carole King? Well, could it be because she started her professional songwriting career at 16 and has had 400 of her compositions recorded by more than 1000 artists? Perhaps it’s her numerous accolades including her Grammy Awards, her Kennedy Center Honor, or her Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction that make her so incredibly unique as a woman in the music business. Or maybe it’s the fact that a Jewish girl from Brooklyn doing good and getting out was inspiration for a Jewish girl like me, from Queens and thousands of women like me, to do the same. Seeing a curly haired woman, bestowed with a nose of character allowed women like her to realize that they could be something extraordinary.
Before the show, I told my daughter all of this. She sat there quietly thinking, sipping her Shirley Temple and just said, “Oh”.
But once the show began, and the music came pouring out, the costumes glowed and glistened (Oh the costumes are A-MAHZ-ING!!!), the set moved, and the lights dimmed, she began to see for herself just why Carole King deserves a musical on Broadway all for herself.
From “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” to “Locomotion” to “One Fine Day” all the way to her epic self-biographical work such as “It’s Too Late” and the show’s namesake, “Beautiful” you can see, and hear, how she helped shape the fabric of music of the 60’s and 70’s. This is the music my parents grew into adults listening to. This is the music that tells you that it’s okay to feel sad sometimes, and that there’s no shame in asking for help or letting your feelings known. It’s these songs that taught me that women have a voice and have something valuable to contribute and that I was so proud to share with MY daughter.
By the time our feet hit the street, we were singing the songs of one of the most influential women in rock and roll. My eleven year old sang, “Come on baby, do the locomotion” as we headed to the train home. She sang “I Feel the Earth Move” as we got into our car and belted “Natural Woman” while getting ready for school the next day.
I’d say my work is done.
Thank you to the folks at DKC/O&M for creating an unforgettable experience for me and my kiddo.