Roots Report: Beautiful at PPAC

Okee dokee folks… Being a songwriter, musician and music fan who was born at the beginning of the ’60s set me up to be a fan of the work of Carole King. I remember hearing her songs on AM radio when I was a kid. It was really her landmark 1971 album Tapestry that caught my attention, as well as that of everyone else. She was one of a group of many singer-songwriters from that period who would achieve legendary status. Tapestry stayed on the charts for almost six years, won four Grammys and sold more than 25 million copies. Many, many of King’s songs, such as “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” “The Loco-motion,” “Up On The Roof,” “I’m Into Something Good” and “Pleasant Valley Sunday,” that were covered by other artists, are timeless classics as well. Among her many accolades, King has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and The Songwriters Hall of Fame and is a Kennedy Center Honoree.

Before she was Carole King, she was just a Brooklyn gal named Carole Klein. She started playing music when she was in her very early, single digit days. During high school she started a band and adopted the name Carole King. At 16 she made her foray into the music business and the rest, as they say, is history.

In 2013, the musical Beautiful premiered based on the early life and career of Carole King. Over the years, it has made its rounds touring the country and abroad. Beautiful returns to Providence Performing Arts Center on February 27 and runs until March 4.

The musical tells the story of King’s beginnings and time with husband/writing partner Gerry Goffin, and closes with her pinnacle of Tapestry. Many of King and Goffin’s best-known songs from this era are the soundtrack of the show. It is augmented by period pieces such as “Who Put the Bomp (in the Bomp, Bomp, Bomp),” “On Broadway,” “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling” and more by writers Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil and others. Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann  were fellow writers and two of King’s best friends. Mann has written the melodies of some of the most influential pop songs in musical history. Cynthia Weil is known as the lyricist of classic songs such as “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling.”

The role of Carole King is played by Sarah Bockel who has appeared in many musicals such as Million Dollar Quartet, Les Mis, Shrek, Parade, Into the Woods, The Wedding Singer and Fiddler on the Roof.

If you are a fan of Carole King, of songwriting, are a songwriter or just love the music of the ’60s and ’70s, then this is a show you should not miss. Hear the music and experience the life of one of the best singer-songwriters in music history! For more, “Smackwater Jack” to

That’s it for now. Thanks for reading.

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