Monday, April 22, 2024

Broadway Scoop: Carole King-Gerry Goffin-Mann & Weil Musical Is a Go


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.”

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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