'We've Only Just Begun: Carpenters Remembered' Hits the Road to Celebrate Carpenters 50th Anniversary
Fifty years ago, A & M Records signed a sister and brother duo called the Carpenters and released their debut album Offering (later re-titled Ticket to Ride), leading the way for the pair to become one of the most successful recording acts of all time. Coinciding with the 50th Anniversary year of that monumental signing and album debut, We've Only Just Begun: Carpenters Remembered, the massively successful touring show based around the Carpenters' music and their story, is taking their behind-the-scenes portrait back on the road this fall. This run of shows begins on Thursday, October 10 at the Pawleys Island Festival of Music & Art on Pawleys Island, South Carolina and continues well into 2020.
Additionally, Merry Christmas Darling: Carpenters' Christmas, the special holiday version of the show, returns for its holiday season run, beginning December 1 at the Upper Darby Performing Arts Center in Drexel Hill, PA. Merry Christmas Darling: Carpenters' Christmas is based around the Carpenters' iconic Christmas albums and television specials. The festive show follows the format of the original in that the history of the Carpenters is told via their iconic songs, but also includes holiday classics such as "Sleigh Ride," "The Christmas Song," "Santa Claus is Coming to Town," "Winter Wonderland," "Jingle Bells," "I'll Be Home for Christmas," "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," "Do You Hear What I Hear," and of course, "Merry Christmas Darling."
The We've Only Just Begun: Carpenters Remembered show has brought the music of the Carpenters to U.S. audiences since it hit the road in 2013. Conceived by and starring Canadian singer Michelle Berting Brett, she created the show after being told repeatedly that she sounded like the late Karen Carpenter. What began as a cabaret show with Berting Brett accompanied by a pianist has grown into a touring theatrical production that has played performing arts centers and concert halls as well as multiple engagements in Las Vegas, New York and Atlantic City. Produced by Berting Brett's husband Mark Brett, the show is now backed by a stellar Nashville band under the direction of Harry Sharpe
The holiday show's music is culled from the Carpenters' Christmas Portrait(1978) and An Old-Fashioned Christmas (released in 1984 after the death of Karen Carpenter). A two-CD set of those two albums was released as the Christmas Collection, making Carpenters' holiday music an enduring staple of every holiday season. The holiday edition of the show also generously intersperses the Carpenters' well-known classics, among them "We've Only Just Begun," "Close To You" and a rousing medley of the Carpenters' greatest hits.
Karen and Richard Carpenter sold more than 100 million records worldwide. The Carpenter family, including then 16-year-old Richard and 13-year-old Karen, moved from New Haven, Connecticut in 1963 to the town of Downey near Los Angeles. Both siblings attended Downey High School where Richard, already an accomplished pianist, came to the attention of the school band's director, and Karen played glockenspiel in the marching band to get out of gym class. She later switched to the drums and began singing with a jazz trio formed with her brother and a school friend. By 1969, the Carpenters were signed to A&M Records, and the duo would go on to release 12 studio albums, two Christmas albums, two live albums, 46 singles, and numerous compilation albums.
"We've Only Just Begun: Carpenters Remembered" was an official event of the fan-fueled "Carpenters50th" convention held in April in the Los Angeles area that brought together some 150 Carpenters fans from all over the world. Included in the gathering's schedule of activities was a capacity performance of the show at the Carpenters' hometown Downey Theatre. The Los Angeles Times, in covering the event, referred to Michelle Berting Brett as "The farm girl from Saskatchewan who heard the music on her transistor radio and performs it today on stages all over the world." In speaking of Karen Carpenters' voice, Berting Brett told the Times: "I don't think even she realized how great she was. She made it sound so effortless, with these incredibly long phrases - the breath that girl had was incredible."
"We've Only Just Begun: Carpenters Remembered" 2019-2020 tour dates:
Thursday, October 10, 2019-Pawleys Island Festival, Myrtle Beach, SC
Saturday, October 12-Heritage Theatre, Campbell, CA
Thursday, October 17-Beckley Concert Association, Beckley, WV
Saturday, October 19-Tri-State Concert Association, Cumberland, MD
Laughlin's Riverside Resort, Laughlin, NV
Tuesday, January 7-Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall, Fort Myers, FL
Wednesday, January 8-Mahaffey Theater, St. Petersburg, FL
Thursday, January 9-Parker Playhouse/Broward Center, Fort Lauderdale, FL
Friday, January 10-Maxwell King Center, Melbourne, FL
Saturday, January 11-Emerson Center, Vero Beach, FL
Tuesday, January 14-Van Wezel Performance Hall, Sarasota, FL
Saturday, January 25-Flagler Auditorium, Palm Coast, FL
Saturday, February 1-Strand Center for the Arts, Lakewood, NJ
Friday and Saturday, February 14 and 15-Hunterdon Hill Playhouse,
Sunday, February 23-Popejoy Hall, Albuquerque, NM
Saturday, February 29-Suquamish Clearwater Casino Resort, Suquamish, WA
"Merry Christmas Darling: Carpenters' Christmas" 2019 tour dates:
Sunday, December 1-Upper Darby PAC, Drexel Hill, PA
Saturday, December 7-Wolf Den, Mohegan Sun, Uncasville, CT
Sunday, December 8-Mohegan Sun Pocono, Wilkes-Barre, PA
Thursday, December 12-Fantasy Springs, Indio, CA
Saturday, December 14-Suncoast Casino, Las Vegas, NV
Sunday, December 15-The Orleans, Las Vegas, NV
Wednesday, December 18-Island View Casino, Gulfport, MS
Friday, December 20-Thunder Valley Casino, Lincoln, CA