For those who are unfamiliar, a jukebox musical is a show that features tunes most audiences are familiar with. And that kind of show is practically made for “Beautiful,” the story of singer, songwriter and all-around legend Carole King.
“What separates this from other jukebox musicals is it has an actual story that is meaty, dramatic and interesting,” said Emily Van Fleet, who is taking on the role of King for the Arvada Center’s new production. “The way the music is woven into the story enhances it in such a lovely way. Audiences go on a real journey.”
“Beautiful — The Carole King Musical”runs at the Arvada Center, 6901 Wadsworth Blvd., from Friday, Sept. 8 through Sunday, Oct. 15. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, 1 p.m. on Wednesday and 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
According to provided information, the show tells the true story of King, “a shy, Jewish girl from Manhattan who became one of the biggest songwriters in the world.” It details how she collaborated with Gerry Goffin (Seth Dhonau) and competed against Cynthia Weil (Adriane Leigh Robinson) and Barry Mann (EJ Dohring) to write songs that listeners the world over would recognize.
The results were classics like “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” “Up on the Roof,” and “So Far Away” — many of which were made famous by singers other than King herself, like The Drifters and The Shirelles.
“It’s great that Carole is connected to so many artists, like James Taylor,” said Dhonau. “This provides a wider scope of what the musical landscape at the time was.”
While the music is certainly the heartbeat of the show, “Beautiful” also offers a humane and insightful look at the creative process and how co-creators can get enmeshed in each other’s lives.
“Whenever two people collaborate, there will be times when they don’t see eye to eye. It’s fascinating to see how their separate work get formed into one song,” Dhonau said. “There’s always a bit of dramatic tension in determining what the lyrical content and harmonic content is of a song and how it makes the listener feel.”
The music King and her peers wrote during the period covered in the show has proven to be some of the most influential and lasting ever recorded and that’s part of the thrill of the production.
“I hope people come away appreciating the impact on popular culture of this music and maybe even surprised by some of the songs King wrote,” Van Fleet said. “I knew I liked this music before we did it and now I love it more and more every time.”
Information and tickets can be found at https://arvadacenter.org/events/beautiful-the-carole-king-musical.
Dance to the Songs of Brazil and Music of the Bronx Horns in Northglenn
When done properly, musical fusion is a great way to explore different genres combined in a way that is both enlightening and entertaining. The Colorado Jazz Repertory Orchestra is one of the best at this blending, and you can hear that in person at Northglenn’s Parson Theatre, 1 E. Memorial Parkway, at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 8.
The Songs of Brazil and the Music of the Bronx Horns will feature vocalist Marion Powers and finds the group exploring the music of The Bronx Horns, who are well-known for their contributions to Latin Jazz and Salsa in the 1990s.
Information and tickets can be found at https://bit.ly/NGARTS-CJRO-Brazil-BronxHorns.
Immerse yourself in the annual Friendship Powwow
Come to the Denver Art Museum Sie Welcome Center, 100 W. 14thAvenue Parkway in Denver, for one of the longest running and most culturally important events of the year – the 34thAnnual Friendship Powwow.
The event runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 9 and is developed annually with members of the regional Indigenous community and, according to provided information, features Native American dance competitions, hands-on activities like beadwork artmaking activities with local Native artists Katherine Flecking and Chelsea Kaiah, prize drawings and food and vendor booths.
Find more information at www.denverartmuseum.org.
Clarke’s Concert of the Week — Janelle Monáe at Red Rocks
R&B sorceress Janelle Monáe doesn’t just make albums — she makes full-blown, cohesive artistic statements that explore themes and further narratives. This can be most clearly be seen on albums like “The ArchAndroid” and “Dirty Computer.” While her latest album, “The Age of Pleasure,” doesn’t explore the world of Afrofuturism or anything boundary pushing, it’s still a thoroughly ensnaring and beguiling release. It sounds the best on a hot summer day, so there’s still time to hear it in the proper format.
In support of the album, Monáe will be bringing her live show to Red Rocks, 18300 W. Alameda Parkway in Morrison, at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 7. Even a cursory Youtube dive of Monáe’s live performances demonstrates that she’s a master, so get tickets for the show at www.ticketmaster.com.
Clarke Reader’s column on culture appears on a weekly basis. He can be reached at Clarke.Reader@hotmail.com.