NEW YORK — Prior to its planned Broadway arrival in spring 2014, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical has locked in a San Francisco tryout run for the fall.
Produced by Paul Blake and Sony/ATV Music Publishing, the show will play the SHN Curran Theatre from Sept. 24 through Oct. 20. Woven together by book writer Douglas McGrath (Woody Allen‘s Bullets Over Broadway) around classic hits by the songwriting teams of Gerry Goffin/Carole King and Barry Mann/Cynthia Weil, the new musical will be directed by Marc Bruni.
The show traces King’s evolution from the Brooklyn Jewish girl, born Carol Klein, who fought her way into the record business as a teenager. She married Goffin at age 17 and the couple became a flourishing songwriting partnership, working out of an office at Aldon Music in Manhattan. But King began to find her voice as a performer only after her divorce, when she moved to Laurel Canyon and became part of the burgeoning music scene led by such artists as James Taylor and Joni Mitchell.
King’s 1971 release, Tapestry, became one of the touchstone albums of a generation, yielding such enduring hits as “It’s Too Late,” “You’ve Got a Friend,” “So Far Away” and “I Feel the Earth Move.” The record also included reinterpretations of two songs King had written with Goffin, “Will You Love Me Tomorrow?” and “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.”
The jukebox musical genre has come under criticism on Broadway and generated its share of resounding flops, among them shows based around the songs of Johnny Cash, The Beach Boys, Earth Wind & Fire and Bob Dylan. But songbook assemblies have also spawned a number of longrunning successes, including Mamma Mia! (ABBA), Jersey Boys (Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons) and Rock of Ages (’80s glam metal).
Despite tepid reviews for its storytelling skills, Berry Gordy‘s chronicle of his Detroit-born superstar hit factory, Motown: The Musical, is shaping up to be one of the smashes of the current Broadway season, consistently grossing more than $1 million a week since it began previews on March 11.