At long last here is the exclusive I am so happy to announce: “Beautiful” is the name of the absolutely much anticipated musical based largely on the music of Carole King. But that’s not all. “Beautiful” will have classics from the songbook of Carole King and Gerry Goffin, songs of Carole’s from the “Tapestry” era, and will also feature songs by that 60s songwriting couple’s friends, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil. The Goffins and the Weils were the stars of the Brill Building, music publisher Donnie Kirschner’s two best teams.
And there’s more: the book for “Beautiful” is written by Doug McGrath, director of “Emma” and “Nicholas Nickleby,” writer with Woody Allen of several films including “Manhattan Murder Mystery.” The director, I am told, is Mark Bruni, most recently the man behind “Old Jews Telling Jokes.”
The main songs are from King, and I’m told that the normally exacting singer songwriter has been a pleasure to work with on the show. Songs like “The Loco Motion,” “Up on the Roof,” “It Might as Well Rain Until September,” and “Pleasant Valley Sunday” are said to be in the mix, eventually giving way to the mega selling “Tapestry” album collection including “It’s Too Late,” “Beautiful” and “I Feel the Earth Move.” King saved her Shirelles hit “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” from the 2011 show “Baby It’s You” so it would be fresh here.
The show will also pull from the Mann-Weil songbook– including, perhaps, “On Broadway” and “Uptown.” There’s also a nod to Neil Sedaka, who wrote “Oh Carol” about King before she added an ‘e’ to her name. Mann & Weil had had their own touring musical called “They Wrote That.”
An official announcement should come any day. But for now, it’s great news. From “Baby It’s You” to “Motown” as well as the long ago hit “Smokey Joe’s Cafe” Broadway is really getting a dose of great 60s music. If only Phil Spector would release the dramatic rights to his catalog so Ronnie Spector could move forward with her show, and then we’d have something. Meantime, you can hear the great songs of Sam (Moore) and the late Dave (Prater) in the new movie “The Sapphires.”