If you weren’t already moved by Carole King and her era-defining music, you were after the bio-musical “Beautiful — The Carole King Musical” ended with a rousing cast-audience singalong to “I Feel the Earth Move” last May at Broward Center for the Performing Arts.
Want a second (or a first) date? The same cast, but with a different lead actress, Julia Knitel as King, plays the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Miami Tuesday night through Feb. 19. Here are five reasons you should do the loco-motion through Miami traffic to get to this beautiful musical.
To get in touch with your inner boomer
“Beautiful” is book-ended by songs from King’s 1971 solo landmark “Tapestry” album — “So Far Away” and “I Feel the Earth Move.” In between are 26 other Carole King-Gerry Goffin and Barry Mann-Cynthia Weil classics written for acts like The Shirelles, The Drifters, Little Eva and The Righteous Brothers.
Nearly everyone over 40 has these tunes deeply grooved in their DNA. Just try not to spontaneously hum when looking over this list: “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” “The Loco-Motion,” “Take Good Care of My Baby,” “Up on the Roof” and “You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feeling.”
To give you something to talk about with your parents
Who’s Carole King, you ask? One fine day ask your mom how the “Tapestry” album eased her from her confused teenage years — boys! — into the puzzling world of love and marriage and children.
The human drama
By the time “Beautiful” wraps in 140 minutes, you’ll learn of King’s tumultuous marriage to lyricist hubby, Gerry Goffin, with whom she wrote hundreds of hits for other acts in the late-1950s and 1960s. You’ll learn of the friendly rivalry with fellow husband-and-wife staff songwriters Mann and Weil as they all labored inside New York’s Aldon Music songwriting office.
To ponder how graphic pop music could be in 1961 without actually being graphic
“What can you say in three minutes?” Goffin (Liam Tobin) sniffs early in “Beautiful” of the ditties that fill the airwaves pre-Beatles. He’d soon say plenty in his lyrics for the provocative “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” a No. 1 hit for the Shirelles in 1961, which King set to her most beautiful melody.
The song is about teens contemplating sex — sung from the young woman’s point of view. The norm in that era demanded that even married with children couples like Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz could not be seen together in bed on their TV sitcom, “I Love Lucy.”
The cultural relevance
The King-Goffin, Mann-Weil songs that were written at 1650 Broadway in New York were a balm during the Kennedy and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. assassinations, the escalating Vietnam war and student protests. Today’s bipartisan battles, protests, presidential Tweets and environmental fears make songs like “You’ve Got a Friend,” “We Gotta Get Out of This Place” and “Beautiful” as timely as ever.
If you go
What: “Beautiful — The Carole King Musical”
When: Opens Feb. 14. Shows at 8 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, 7 p.m. Sunday, 2 p.m. matinee Saturday, 1 p.m. matinee Sunday, through Feb. 19
Where: Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami
Information: 305-949-6722 or ArshtCenter.org.