In addition to the conversation with Michael Brindisi, the event (hosted by the treasure that is Nancy Nelson) also included a brief talk by legendary local music report Jon Bream. He told us how Carole King (née Carol Klein) started piano lessons at age 4, and had perfect pitch. When she got pregnant as a teenager, she married her songwriting partner Gerry Goffin (she wrote the music, he wrote the lyrics). They proceeded to write a bunch of hits in the '60s, while raising two daughters. Their first big hit was "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" sung by The Shirelles, followed by "Take Good Care of My Baby" by Minnesotan Bobby Vee (about whom the History Theatre created a jukebox musical a few years ago), and of course "Natural Woman," sung by Aretha Franklin. In 1968 the couple got a divorce, and Carole moved to L.A. with her daughters, which introduced her to a whole new music scene and culminated in her recording her old and new songs. Her second album, Tapestry, was a huge success, winning four Grammys and remaining on the Billboard chart for 313 weeks. The musical covers this span of her life and ends with Tapestry, but Jon filled us in on her post-Tapestry accomplishments, up to today at the age of almost 82.
We were also treated to a few songs by the cover band River (comprised of Aimée Lee, Deb Brown, and Jana Anderson), who regularly sing songs of Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon, and of course Carole King. For this show they only sang the latter (some hits featured in the musical including "Natural Woman" and "I Feel the Earth Move"), but you can see their full concert featuring all three women at the Chanhassen's Fireside Theater in June.
Michael told us that his and Cat's goal for this show, along with everyone working on it, is to make it the best production of Beautiful ever done! With that attitude, it very likely will be. Tickets are on sale now for Beautiful, which begins performances on March 1. I'm looking forward to seeing it at the best press night in town on March 8.
You've got to get up every morning with a smile on your face
And show the world all the love in your heart