Posted in Travel/Conferences

A “Beautiful” Day in New York City

My friends and I outside the Stephen Sondheim Theater where we saw Beautiful. Right to left: Jenny Pohl, Lauren Artus, me, and Vicki Maxey. (Photo by Dawn De Louise Banks)

Over the Memorial Day weekend, my friends, sister-in-law, and I attended the Broadway musical, Beautiful, featuring the music and story of Carole King. All of us thoroughly enjoyed the show which has been running on Broadway since 2014. I’m glad I finally had a chance to see it for several reasons.

Me “singing” inside the theater’s photo-op of Carole King’s music studio. (photo by Dawn De Louise Banks)

The main reason is that Carole’s music represented to me a time in my life where I was learning about myself and the world around me. It was an era when there were no cell phones or streaming audio and video. Kids played in the street, read comic books, and the only threat of violence was in a faraway place known at Vietnam.  In 1971, I had my first innocent kiss by a boy whom I thought I’d marry when we grew up. Since distance separated us, “So Far Away,” was a song that reminded me of the pain of being apart. I still have the album Tapestry up in my attic with my other treasured LP’s. When I danced to Carole’s music in my family’s basement in the house where I no longer live, I sprained my knee to “I Feel the Earth Move.” That didn’t stop my love of that song. Hearing it again and watching the show brought back memories of the 70’s and my youth. I believe it did that for everyone in the audience.

Me and my sister-in-law Dawn who also attended the show. Dawn is a singer and musician with Breaking Dawn Acoustics. (photo by Vicki Maxey)

Another reason I’m glad I saw Beautiful is because I enjoyed learning about how Carole and other songwriters and musicians of that period got started, their struggles and determination to succeed. The lyrics to Beautiful, the song that inspired the title of the musical, begins with “You’ve got to get up every morning with a smile on your face and show the world all the love in your heart. Then people gonna treat you better. You’re gonna find, yes you will, that you’re beautiful as you feel.” As an author who is also in a creative field that is very competitive and yet can be so rewarding, those lyrics make a lot of sense to me. I believe they also do to my sister-in-law who has her own band and performs with Breaking Dawn Acoustic all over Long Island.

Besides the song lyrics, there were several lines spoken in the show that also touched me. One in particular was the line that the performer portraying Carole said at the beginning that “Sometimes you don’t always get what you want in  life; but when you don’t, you get something beautiful.” That was my theme in the first book of my Cobble Cove mystery series, “A Stone’s Throw,” that everything happens for a reason, and I’ve seen it over and over again in my own life and have continued to feature that theme in all my books.

There are many definitions of beautiful. It doesn’t only apply to looks. Everyone has their own opinion of what constitutes beauty. To me, the show Beautiful was beautiful and so was Carole King and her music. Have you seen the show? Why did you go? What memories does Carole King’s music bring to your mind? I’d love to read your comments.