BEAUTIFUL: The Carole King Musical preview thread

ACL2006
Broadway Legend
joined:2/11/06
anyone able to go to the invited dress tonight?? I have two friends there right now and am waiting to hear what they think. anyone going this week??
A Chorus Line played its final Broadway performance on August 17, 2008. The tour played its final performance on August 21, 2011. A new non-equity tour started in October 2012 played its final performance on March 23, 2013.
oncemorewithfeeling2
Stand-by
joined:4/25/13
I have a friend there tonight and received a very brief message from him: "We have reasons to be cautiously optimistic for the show. We also have reasons to be realistic." I'll get more out of him tomorrow and share his thoughts.
ACL2006
Broadway Legend
joined:2/11/06
the only thing I got from one of my friends via facebook was "Beautiful! Especially Mueller. Definite Tony nomination coming her way."
A Chorus Line played its final Broadway performance on August 17, 2008. The tour played its final performance on August 21, 2011. A new non-equity tour started in October 2012 played its final performance on March 23, 2013.
WhizzerMarvin TrinaJasonMendel
Broadway Legend
joined:5/26/05
I'm going tonight. This has flown pretty far under the radar so I don't know what to expect. Guess I'll find out this evening!
Marie: Don't be in such a hurry about that pretty little chippy in Frisco. Tony: Eh, she's a no chip!
LizzieCurry
Broadway Legend
joined:3/7/05
Lots of good stuff on twitter if you search the handle.

Going tonight too (after seeing it in SF). :)
https://twitter.com/search?q=%40beautifulonbway&src=typd&f=realtime
"you know what I quit this board, you all can go **** yourselves." - thismyshow
oncemorewithfeeling2
Stand-by
joined:4/25/13
My friend who attended got back to me and I'm just going to paste in his email:

"The high point was the acting, absolutely. Jessie Mueller, as always, sounds beautiful. When she sang Natural Woman, I think I was holding my breath. She doesn't really look that much like Carole King, but she portrays her so well. You feel like you're experiencing her, not an actress. Jarrod Spector, Annika Larson, and Jake Epstein don't disappoint either, but I would like to see more with Jake Epstein and Jessie Mueller's characters. Jake is better then he was in AI and Spiderman. He seems more comfortable in himself.

The girls as the Shirelles are FAB. I loved them.

The show isn't perfect because it feels like it's dragging at some spots, but typically, it brings it back up with a song. The music keeps things moving in this.

It does bio-musical fairly well. It's more along the lines of Jersey Boys then Mamma Mia!. It ebbs and flows, but more flowing then ebbing. I know there will be several strong actors up for consideration for the Tony and Jessie Mueller is going to be one of them. If she hasn't totally established herself as yet as a leader in the new generation of leading ladies, she will now. I liked her performance better then Katie Finneran in the fish and Kelli O's performance from the summer in Bridges.

Strong ensemble cast, too."
SonofRobbieJ
Broadway Legend
joined:12/10/09
I was there last night. As the director said right before the show, 'When you tweet of this, and you will, be kind.'

One doesn't need to go out of their way to be kind when Jessie Mueller is giving such a terrific performance. She's transcendent. I wasn't quite sure how she was going to capture King's vocal style, considering how smooth and polished of a singer Mueller is. But damn did she find a way to deliver. She's funny, heartbreaking, astoundingly committed and all without seeming to have to work too hard. She's magnificent.

I really enjoyed the show as a whole, both as a showcase for the songs of King, King & Goffin and Weil & Mann as well as an exploration of the creative process during a very specific time and place. I was unexpectedly moved throughout much of it. Mueller really is the show, but the chemistry between her and Jake Epstein is what made me care so very much. Anika Larsen and Jarrod Spector are great as Weil and Mann. I was really impressed with how the four leads approached their roles. It all felt very naturalistic. There are a few qualms that I have, but in general, I left the theater feeling great...and certain that Mueller is establishing herself as a leading lady who will be giving us great performances for many years to come.
DottieD'Luscia
Broadway Legend
joined:7/23/03
One of my "boyfriends" is in this show. I'm looking forward to it.
Hey Dottie! Did your colleagues enjoy the cake even though your cat decided to sit on it? ~GuyfromGermany
newintown
Broadway Legend
joined:3/3/10
If we're reporting on reports, the message I received this morning was that Mueller is great, and there was much conversation (among my friends) along the lines of "why is no one writing a good, new show for her?" There isn't really any book, story, or problem here, which makes any moment when a great number isn't happening somewhat bland. Not surprising, as King's life isn't really the stuff of gripping drama, unless one were to exaggerate or just lie, as in the case of shows about Fanny Brice and Gypsy Rose Lee. Outside of a non-faithful spouse, her life was one of great wealth, success, and fame from about the age of 18.
WhizzerMarvin TrinaJasonMendel
Broadway Legend
joined:5/26/05
I agree about wanting to hear Mueller sing a new score. After Clear Day, Into the Woods and Nice Work I'm ready to see her take on a role never performed before with songs never sung before and really see what she can do.

Marie: Don't be in such a hurry about that pretty little chippy in Frisco. Tony: Eh, she's a no chip!
StickIt
Stand-by
joined:8/29/08
" Outside of a non-faithful spouse, her life was one of great wealth, success, and fame from about the age of 18."

Haven't seen the show here yet so no comments there but this comment is absurd. Take a read of her memoir sometime maybe and you'll see she went through her share of struggles with her family (her mentally disabled brother was put in an institution), her marriages, the domestic violence she had to endure, about her nomadic lifestyle and toxic relationships, her severe self-image and self-confidence issues that took her years to overcome...you're talking about a woman who started out in a man's business as literally a 16 year old girl and wound up with two children, divorced, before she even turned 30. She's got a hell of a story and it's not really all that rosy. She's a formidable woman and to reduce her that way is just a disservice to her legacy. I know much of this is not covered in the show but honestly...

Updated On: 11/21/13 at 10:59 AM
LizzieCurry
Broadway Legend
joined:3/7/05
I know much of this is not covered in the show

And that was kind of the problem in SF -- there was a great story there, but it seemed stifled by the heavy involvement of the relevant parties. But we'll see how it is here.
"you know what I quit this board, you all can go **** yourselves." - thismyshow
newintown
Broadway Legend
joined:3/3/10
Oh, I'm aware of her memoir. Perhaps it would be best to say that we may have different ideas about what life events and life arcs are the stuff of good musical theatre storytelling.
SonofRobbieJ
Broadway Legend
joined:12/10/09
'you're talking about a woman who started out in a man's business as literally a 16 year old girl and wound up with two children, divorced, before she even turned 30.'

That's the story being told in this show. None of the other stuff you wrote about has made it into the script.

Now...I don't have a problem with that, because I feel the show dealt more with how people create (to make a buck, to make a hit, to get out of their circumstances) than with just the bio points of Carole King. And I think that was a wise move. It was an easy in for me. And the songbook is just spectacular.

As much as I'd love to hear Mueller sing a new score (basically because it means another new score has been written), I don't think she has much left to prove in terms of being one of the best (if not the best) singing actress of her generation. She has been shockingly different in everything I've seen her in...not just in terms of an actress, but in terms of her instrument as a singer. I couldn't quite believe how dead on she was in capturing the King style of singing. No...she doesn't sound just like her. But she captures some elemental about the woman that translates beautifully.
StickIt
Stand-by
joined:8/29/08
"Oh, I'm aware of her memoir. Perhaps it would be best to say that we may have different ideas about what life events and life arcs are the stuff of good musical theatre storytelling."

Fair enough but I don't think it's events that made good musical theatre storytelling. There are great shows about things as low stakes as puppet-life in Avenue Q, as high stakes as the French Revolution (even though it isn't TECHNICALLY the French Rev) in Les MIs, and as vapid as "sorority girl wins Boyfriend back in law school!" like Legally Blonde. All these shows made money (though Blonde recouped on tour). I think it's more in the craft and how the story is being told than "is this arc inherently the most dramatic". The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is a great story and nothing is "actually" happening, remember. :)

Anyway I don't want to turn this thread into a tangential debate. Break legs to everybody tonight and I can't wait to hear how the show has come together in NY! I've heard there are some pretty substantial changes, especially in the second act, so I can't wait to hear more later.
Up In One
Stand-by
joined:5/27/04
Hey Once More, you didn't see Kelly O in Bridges this summer, Elena Shaddow played it in the Berkshires.

As far as Carol King's memoirs go I agree that her written memoir was a surprising snore, I'm hoping a dramatist can make more of it than she did her own story. But quite honestly an evening with Carole King songs, Jesse Mueller and the likeness of the Shirelles will make me more than happy - anything else is icing on the cake.
oncemorewithfeeling2
Stand-by
joined:4/25/13
My mistake. Let is be corrected that my friend believes she was better then Elena Shaddow :)
newintown
Broadway Legend
joined:3/3/10
"There are great shows about things as low stakes as puppet-life in Avenue Q, as high stakes as the French Revolution (even though it isn't TECHNICALLY the French Rev) in Les MIs, and as vapid as "sorority girl wins Boyfriend back in law school!" like Legally Blonde. All these shows made money (though Blonde recouped on tour). I think it's more in the craft and how the story is being told than "is this arc inherently the most dramatic". The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is a great story and nothing is "actually" happening, remember. :)"

All interesting points, but I think Avenue Q isn't really about "puppet-life" but, rather characters on quests to find their purposes. Les Miz (although I find it astoundingly over-rated) is about human relationships and quests, not the French Revolution. And I don't think Legally Blonde is good theatre, but anyway. Walter Mitty isn't theatre (or at least the Off Broadway musical wasn't successful), but rather a really good short story with lots and lots of events, most of them imaginary.

For me, a key element (usually, there are always exceptions) to good theatre is a quest for a specific goal or goals. Most of King's major goals were achieved quite young; true, she had to fix relationship problems, and find the confidence to be a performer, but these may be kind of what some might call "First World Problems."
thebeautyis3
Understudy
joined:10/18/12
I think it's a little early to talk about her definitely getting a Tony nod. Not that she isn't great and doesn't deserve it, but this season is full. With Williams, Mazzie (if she indeed is cast as Helen, and not put into supporting), O'Hara, Foster, Menzel, Reed, and Rocky (I'm sorry, I can't remember the actress from Rocky's name) yet to open their shows. Plus Fantasia, who was very well-reviewed, Kate Baldwin (maybe), and Krysta Rodriguez (and I'm sure I'm forgetting a few), there are going to be some powerhouses left out of the mix this year. It's going to be interesting to see how it all plays out.
tgrabon2
Chorus Member
joined:6/18/08
iPhone 5 case. Nice.
timmmmmmmmy
tgrabon2
Chorus Member
joined:6/18/08

timmmmmmmmy
tgrabon2
Chorus Member
joined:6/18/08
Sorry. I was trying to post a photo. Five t-shirts a magnet and the phone case.
timmmmmmmmy
WhizzerMarvin TrinaJasonMendel
Broadway Legend
joined:5/26/05
I feel like I've already seen this show before. There's a medley near the beginning of the show where you're like, "There's Motown! There's Smokey Joe's Cafe! There's Baby, It's You!" All the songs start swirling together and I felt like I was experiencing the Jukebox version of Ben's breakdown at the end of "Live, Laugh, Love."

Act One was long and really dragged for me. There seemed to be virtually no conflict, and worse the last 20 minutes or so were dominated by 5 songs that Mueller had basically no part in. Watching non-characters like The Shirelles, The Drifters, Little Eva and Janelle (with The Chiffons?) perform production numbers REALLY began to verge on Smokey Joe's II territory.

Act Two was better, if only because Mueller sang more songs, but whole evening was rather dramatically inert. If they weren't going to get into the domestic abuse and darker struggles she faced I would have gone with a concert version of King's songs, like A Night With Janis Joplin. The best part was the title song during the Carnegie Hall concert so why not just recreate that concert in full with Mueller sharing stories from King's life in between the numbers?

Mueller is quite good; very understated and not trying to steal scenes or anything. It's not the greatest role to work with, but she does well with what she's given and is very likable. Anika Larsen is fun and Jarrod Spector is playing Woody Allen's role from Hannah and Her Sisters pretty well. I didn't care for Jake Epstein.

The nicest thing I can say about it is that it's very professional and above board. None of the cheapness of tackiness that Baby, It's You thrived on. The trouble with professional and above board without any creative spark is that it can get boring quickly, and that is sadly too often the case here.
Marie: Don't be in such a hurry about that pretty little chippy in Frisco. Tony: Eh, she's a no chip!
dave1606
Broadway Star
joined:12/8/07
Late in the second act you can feel the audience turn and really get onboard with this show, and that is when Jessie Mueller is center stage belting her heart out. She sounds fantastic, and King's songs really are fantastic. After I saw the show in San Francisco I listened to Tapestry nearly every day for a month. Coming back to the show again tonight, I can't help but feel a bit cheated with this show.

Act 2 is lovely, and once you focus on King's story and not her surroundings things start to fall into place. But Act 1 is still the same sluggish, drama free proceeding that I saw in San Francisco.

The Poker scene is still intact, and still stops the show cold. Also, for a supposedly about Carole King, it is rather frustrating to get so many full songs by artists she wrote for. I understand this was part of her life, but these songs/medley's are rather frustrating, and pr-long an act that just drags on and on for seemingly no reason.

That said, I really felt Jessie Mueller's star quality this time around. I like her reserved dry humor and warmth that she brings to the role. Anika Larisen still remains the star of the supporting cast, and Jake Epstein, while better than in San Francisco still is the weakest link, which I attribute to an underwritten and very unlikable character.

This show has a month to tweak things, an I really hope they take some time to improve the book scenes and trim some of the first act. In the end it is fine, but is not life changing theater. Add me to the list of people who wants Mueller in an original musical!

LizzieCurry
Broadway Legend
joined:3/7/05
I was grateful for the poker scene being SO MUCH less painful than it was that first weekend in SF.

Jessie Mueller shone so much more for me this time; I liked her in SF but I loved her here.

The show overall is a lot tighter and more cohesive than when I saw it the first time, but the same structural problems in Act 1 are there. Act 2 is much more engaging, as has already been posted here.

I was surprised there was no pre-show announcement.
"you know what I quit this board, you all can go **** yourselves." - thismyshow
Scottsacto
Stand-by
joined:4/3/05
Whizzer--your thoughts are Identical to my thoughts on the show when I saw it in SF.

Though you said it so much BETTER!! Thanks!!

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