Posts Tagged ‘Carole King’

We go to the theater a fair amount, but the first half of April 2017 was quite the outlier.

Sunday, April 2: The Little Mermaid – Catskill High School (three of us)

One of my nieces was in her fifth production, and the three of us have seen them all. This was her largest role yet, playing Flounder. She was quite good, actually, and I say this not out of familial loyalty.

In general the girls were better singers than the boys. Ariel’s sisters were fine as were Ursula’s assistants. But the hits were Sebastian (Edward Donahue), Ariel (Ade Spencer) and especially Ursula (Anna White).

Thursday, April 6: The Sound of Music – Proctors Theatre, Schenectady (three of us)

Proctors has had Broadway-quality productions for a number of years, and this was no exception. The trick with the musical is that the movie is so imprinted in the brain. My Favorite Thing is sung at the abbey, Do-Re-Mi at the Trapp villa, and The Lonely Goatherd in Maria’s bedroom, when she calms the children freaked out by the thunderstorm.

While the two leads (Charlotte Maltby, Nicholas Rodriguez) are fine, and the children are amazingly good, the largest applause went to Melody Betts as Mother Superior after she sang Climb Ev’ry Mountain.

We bought tickets for next season’s shows, including Fun Home, The Color Purple, Finding Neverland and On Your Feet! (the Gloria Estafan story). Buying a subscription THIS year will mean getting dibs on buying toicxkets for Hamilton in 2018-2019.

(Only somewhat off topic: Alison Bechdel is Vermont’s cartoonist laureate. She created Fun Home.)

Saturday, April 8, 2017: They Built America: The Workers of the Erie Canal – local school (two of us)

This is a Capital Rep show commemorating the 200th anniversary of the groundbreaking of the engineering feat that went from Albany to Buffalo. “Meet the real men, women and children, the politicians, farmers, merchants and laborers who…[built] the Erie Canal.” There are four actors, and three of them, the two men and one of the women, play multiple parts. It was quite good, about an hour long and suitable for children.

The Daughter should have come.

Sunday, April 9: Oliver! – Albany High School (two of us)

This was, aside from some occasional sound problems, extraordinarily good. I was’t familiar with the story, though I sang Consider Yourself in glee club in high school. It’s a dark, sordid, violent tale.

The standout were the terrifying Bill Sykes (Ackazemas Myers), the show-stopping singer Nancy (Williemae Fiddemon), and the shifty Fagen (Raphael Cohen), who had a fun bit with the violinist in the orchestra. Oliver was played by sixth-grader Hassan Laing who was good, but occasionally miked badly.

Saturday, April 15: Beautiful: the Carole King Story – Proctors Theatre, Schenectady (two of us)

I saw this on the calendar months ago and said, Who scheduled this for Holy Week?” It’s only on the Wednesday through Sunday. I have to sing or rehearse or travel the other days. Based on the packed house for this matinee, many folks wee in the same boat.

Just from casual conversation with the folks around the Wife and me, it was clear that almost everyone knew the Tapestry album from 1971 but few were familiar with the songwriting of Carole King (the wonderful Julia Knitel) with husband Gerry Goffin (Liam Tobin) well before that, competing to get their songs pitched to the right singer or group that might make their songs #1.

As Greg Haymes noted in Nippertown: “‘Beautiful’ could have easily been nothing more than another cliched jukebox musical gathering together the hits by songwriters of the Brill Building era, i.e., ‘Smokey Joe’s Cafe’ (Leiber and Stoller) or ‘Leader of the Pack’ (Ellie Greenwich). But thanks to some smart, comic dialogue by Douglas McGrath, deft direction by Marc Bruni and strong, all-around performances by the cast, ‘Beautiful’ is a snappy musical that rises above the level of the usual jukebox musical expectations.

“But it’s not all about King, and the title of the show is something of a misnomer. The secondary couple – portraying the songwriting team of Cynthia Weil (Erika Olson) and Barry Mann (Ben Fankhauser) – and their music is crucial.”

Yes, it wasn’t just a Kingfest, as the early “1650 Broadway Medley” had songs from Neil Sedaka (singer of “Oh, Carol”), Leiber and Stoller, Phil Spector and many others. The Mann/Weil hit You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling was a standout.

But Act 2 belonged to the former Carole Klein. I LOVED this show.

More random music recollections based on the book Never A Dull Moment.

Carole King was in the music business for a lot of years. As a kid who used to read the liner notes, I discovered she was the King in (Gerry) Goffin-King songwriting duo. But in 1971, she invented Read the rest of this entry »

Rita Moreno bookAs I’ve noted over the years, I LOVE the Kennedy Center Honors. The event generally take place in DC the first weekend in December, and is broadcast on CBS-TV at the end of the month. The celebration of the honorees’ Lifetime Artistic Achievements took place on Sunday, December 6 and will be be aired on CBS on Tuesday, December 29 at 9:00 p.m., ET/PT. This year’s honorees are Carole King, George Lucas, Rita Moreno, Seiji Ozawa, and Cicely Tyson.

Rita Moreno – if she were in nothing but the movie West Side Story – a pivotal film in my life – I’d be a big fan, but she accomplished so much more Read the rest of this entry »

mann-weil2In the hit Broadway show Beautiful: the Carole King Musical, the characters portraying songwriters Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil express having a complicated relationship with competing songwriters King and her then-husband, the late Gerry Goffin, back in the 1960s.

From a February 2015 CBS Sunday Morning interview: “That was absolute truth,” replied Weil. “It was the most conflicting relationship I think we’ve ever had with anybody. Because we loved them, we hated them, we were competitive with them, we cheered for them, we cheered for ourselves.”

You may never have heard of Barry Mann (b. February 9, 1939 in Brooklyn, New York City) and Cynthia Weil (b. October 18, 1940 in New York City), but it is most likely that you have listened to their many songs Read the rest of this entry »


Amen, 39.
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The Perfect Epitaph for Establishment Journalism: “In other words, if the government tells me I shouldn’t publish something, who I am as a journalist to disobey? Put that on the tombstone of western establishment journalism.”
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I just don’t have the energy to blast the jerks responsible for the 16-day US federal government partial shutdown. Fortunately, Dan is both willing and able to do so.
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Reader Wil: After our time as p.o.w.’s in Japanese concentration camps, we were liberated by the British. Two months after the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki we could escape a new danger.
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Arthur and Nigel got married today. Or yesterday – that New Zealand time zone stuff always confounds me. Arthur’s observations before the big day. (I still think it’s because of the broken stemware.) Congratulations!
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Amy’s Sharp Little Pencil wrote The Migraine Speaks (much to my dismay) and In the Palm of God’s Hand.
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Mark Evanier’s Tales of My Childhood #3, which made me cry.
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Leslie on setting boundaries as a teacher.
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Steve ponders The Things We Say When Drunk.
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Young Indigo Anderson is passionate about manga, anime, cosplay and making comics. “That is why when her tenth grade AP World History teacher asked for a paper about the relationship between North and South Korea, she requested to do it as a comic.
Read the rest of this entry »

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