During the first weeks of my freshman year of college, my roommate turned on some music and I knew the words to every song but had no idea what the name of the band was. It was a weird feeling, right up until I put it together that this was one of the albums – or, probably, cassette tapes – my dad had played on repeat in his gray Oldsmobile when I was probably eight or nine. By the time I was a teenager he’d switched to classical in the car and I forgot about “Our House” and “Teach Your Children” and “Woodstock” and a whole bunch of other Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young songs that had imprinted on my brain at an impressionable age.
When my mom suggested last year that we go see the Carole King musical, “Beautiful”, I wasn’t too interested (sorry, Mom!) – at least until I saw Jessie Mueller and the cast perform “Will You Love Me Tomorrow?” on the 2014 Tony Awards, with Carole King joining Jessie to sing “I Feel the Earth Move”. (I tried to find video but couldn’t – if someone tracks it down, please link in the comments!) I realized that these, too, were the songs of my childhood, the songs my mom loved and had played over and over, and that there was a very good chance I’d love this show that follows the story of Carole King as a young woman in NYC writing music.