Over the years, the Broadway show about singer-songwriter Carole King has starred as powerful singers in the title role. But so far he hasn’t had one thing: a singer-songwriter. Vanessa Carlton has bravely assumed the role of the legendary King without much experience in musical theatre, but much of being a young songwriter trying to discover her own voice.
Carlton, who has had ups and downs since his first single in 2002, “A Thousand Miles”, read the script for “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical” and cried. Then he thought of his own life.” I thought, ‘OK, there’s something here that I think I can contribute. I can bring some of my own essence to this and maybe it will improve it in some way or be different or feel different or give you some kind of unique energy that will be great.’
“Beautiful” is based on King’s life from the time she was a teenage songwriter in New York to her time as a wife, mother and co-author of dozens of recognizable songs, including “Will You Love Me” and “(You Make Me Feel Like) a Natural Woman.” Although King and Carlton created music at different times, the younger singer-songwriter easily recognized similar experiences: the stress of auditioning a song, being a young woman in the music industry, the need to control the feelings of men, the frustrations and joys of creativity. process, and be a working mother.
“It’s the story of someone who takes a lot of risks,” Carlton said. “I really wanted to help honor the arc of history. But I have many personal experiences that I’m channeling into many of the scenes.” Carlton is still a little surprised to make her Broadway debut. She may have attended many shows growing up in New York, but studied ballet and piano, not musical theater.
“It was emotional for me to finish the show the first time,” he said. “It’s a lot of work. And it was so exciting. And it just worked. I just cried at the end. I did it? Now I have to do it 79 times more. How is this going to happen? “Mike Bosner, a young producer on Broadway, courted Carlton for a year to tackle his “Beautiful,” convinced that he might add something special to the role by taking real feelings.” She’s contributing something that no one else could because she really lived this,” she said. The Carlton pit stop on Broadway marks another fascinating twist in the 38-year-old career, whose debut album, “Be Not Nobody”, earned three Grammy nominations, including the year record and song of the year.
“I was really a young female artist packaged up as a pop star and was trying to follow the rules and I got to a point where I ran out of juice,” she said. “I reached that limit within myself as an artist in 2010, where I was like’ I can’t create music the way I’ve been doing. I need to change everything.” He began again, releasing the “Rabbits on the Run” in 2011 and the admired album “Liberman” in 2015. He sent the demo to “Liberman” to his current label, Dine Alone Records, anonymously that no previous baggage would cloud his assessment”I wished he could start a new relationship based on music,” Carlton said, revealing that a new album will be released next year. “I can start over with people. And that’s what Carole has to do, too. It feels so good when you have an open horizon for you.”
To be ready for Broadway, Carlton began preparations at his home in Nashville, Tennessee, where an acting coach had to gently remind him to stop walking like a ballet dancer. In New York, she followed the actress who plays King to learn the tricks of the trade.” She asked to be put on the training ground,” Bosner said. “She was determined. She kept saying this: ‘I won’t be the worst person in that scenario. I can’t do that to myself.” To enter the character each night, Carlton arranged in his dressing room photos of King at 16, 17 and 18 trying to connect with his youthful innocence and King’s.
How do I get back to that naive girl? I was so dumb and I thought the world was my oyster. I could probably do anything, right? She had that too, ” said Carlton.
I think we all get old, we all become adults, all that silly kid stuff, that innocence, that power, that energy, it just gets pregnant.