After posting a staycation article about the new musical at the San Diego Civic Center based on Carole Kings life, we decided to try and see it for ourselves.
It was a last minute purchase and last minute gets you seats way up in the balcony. I am talking way up! The guy next to me was surprised that it went up that
high and frankly I was too. It was about three rows short of getting a nose bleed.
We didn’t mind as the production wasn’t extremely elaborate as far as stage design. It was nothing like a Lion King or a production like that where you would want to be up close to see the amazing props.
Although the stage design was clever, it was something you could see from where we were sitting. Besides, they tell me the lower seats were in the hundreds of dollars.
We didn’t think $66.00 was cheap but we now know at least in this case, they were “El Cheapos.”
The production of “Beautiful” takes you mostly through the early days of Carole Kings career and how she met her first husband Gerry Goffen. That marriage was significant because he was the lyrics to her wonderful music. The song writing team wrote many hits for various artists including:
- Will You Love Me Tomorrow
- Take Good Care Of My Baby
- The Loco Motion
- Up On The Roof
- One Fine Day
- I’m Into Something Good
- Goin’ Back
From her early days with producer Don Kirshner,she wrote music that was sold to any artist that Kirshner thought the song would fit. Gerry Goffen provided the amazing lyrics. There she met another songwriting team Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil who produced many hits themselves such as, “On Broadway” and “ You’ve Lost that Lovin Feeling.”
Delving into her personal life, the show also ventured into Goffens mental condition and infidelities. At one point he was hospitalized with what they called a mental breakdown. Later and showing remarkable strength, Carole King was finished with him after discovering yet another affair. With much sadness she told her best friends Cynthia and Barry about her new plan to move to Los Angeles and in particular, the infamous Laurel Canyon.
On a final night in New York with her friends, and Mr. Kirshner, she sang one of her new songs, seemingly aimed at all of them, the poignant, “You’ve Got a Friend.”
As she decided that her next group of songs were very personal and had to be sung by her, she went on to record her Grammy winner, “ Tapestry.” With music producer Lou Adler.
Her life changes from that point obviously and at the end, all her friends meet up for her concert at Carnegie Hall, including a surprise visit from Goffin.
So ends a wonderful story about an exceptional young woman with such songwriting talents.
The play will take you down memory lane especially if you are from that era. When Mr. Kirshner selects a song for a popular act, that group performs the song on stage. Not the actual act of course but wonderful actors portraying the likes of the Righteous Brothers, The Shirelles, etc. It is also interesting to see how a song is developed and how Carole would wait for the lyrics from Gerry to finish the song. He sometimes was late but never disappointed with his talent for elevating the music through his inspiring lyrics.
Obviously the music was exceptional and the performers were awesome, this is yet another top notch production for the Civic Center. The musical is highlighted of course because of the music but there were humorous parts and heart breaking moments expertly acted out by the ensemble cast.
Even though we were in the cheap seats way above the stage, we still enjoyed this musical.
“Beautiful” continues through the Civic until August 7th and then it moves on to San Francisco starting August 9 through the 8th.
A must see and if you can’t afford the lower sections, you will still enjoy this production.