Carole King’s life and songs headed for Broadway in ‘Beautiful’

Carol King at the Sundance Festival in 2011. King's life and songs will be the basis for "Beautiful: The Carole King Musical," expected on Broadway in 2014.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Carole King’s life and times – and songs she wrote with her ex-husband, Gerry Goffin -- will be the stuff of “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical,” whose producers are aiming for a spring 2014 opening on Broadway.

Playbill reports that producers Paul Blake and Sony/ATV Music Publishing are bannering the show’s story as the biographical account of “Carole Klein [King’s real name], Brooklyn girl with passion and chutzpah [who] fought her way into the record business as a teenager and, by the time she reached her twenties, had the husband of her dreams and a hot career writing hits for the biggest acts in rock ‘n’ roll.”

Screenwriter Douglas McGrath (Woody Allen’s “Bullets Over Broadway”) is writing the book, and the show will also include songs by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weill, another early 1960s Brill Building songwriting couple whose oeuvre rivals Goffin-King.


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In a news release about plans for the show, King said that “when Gerry and I first met, we made a bargain that I would write music for the Broadway show he wanted to write if he wrote lyrics for my rock ‘n roll songs. The songs took off, and the show idea never came to fruition. Now that our songs have merged with a Broadway show, we’ve come full circle.”

King is already a Broadway baby: in 1994, she replaced Petula Clark in the musical “Blood Brothers,” playing a housekeeper who gives up one of her newborn twins to her wealthy boss and keeps the other to raise herself. The 1980s-vintage show by Willy Russell was an import from London’s West End, where it was a long-running hit based on “The Corsican Brothers,” a 19th century novel by Alexandre Dumas.

There’s no song-list yet for “Beautiful,” but the inclusion of Mann-Weill songs could mean that it will mark the return of “On Broadway” to Broadway. They wrote it for the Drifters with another fabled pop-rock songwriting team, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, and it was included in the successful Leiber-Stoller Broadway revue, “Smokey Joe’s Café.”

Among the Goffin-King songs that figure to turn up are “The Loco-Motion,” “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” “Up on the Roof” and “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.”


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