Yesterday was one of those days of contradiction. Amidst the horror of the tragedy at Nice, we had tickets to see Beautiful: The Carole King Musical. On this dark, sad day, a trip to an upbeat musical? It seemed wrong to go and enjoy ourselves — but it seemed more wrong to let the chance of a positive experience go by.
The mood inside the theater pre-show seemed somber, with so many of us checking our phones for the latest information about the terrorist attack. But then, finally, the call to shut off our phones, the house lights going down, and the curtain going up. And there, center stage, the character of Carole King, singing So Far Away — in this case, a place where music managed to transport us away from the pain.
If you haven’t seen the show — and especially if, like me, Tapestry was an album that shaped and narrated your life — I recommend unconditionally that you see it if you can. This story of one brilliantly talented woman’s growth and emergence into who she was meant to be is moving, exhilarating and, without a doubt, beautiful.
The power of the music, both in her own life, and in the lives of those of us who discovered her songs decades ago and love it just as much today, is a force of nature. And the fact that that music, on what was truly an otherwise awful day, could work its magic, could allow us to suspend our disbelief for a couple of hours, and could actually let joy into hearts that were otherwise breaking is, without a doubt, a tribute to its own heart. Its soul. Its transcendence.
After the show, we returned, of course, to real life. To the damning 24-hour news cycle. And to what now seems to be an endless stream of lunacy and madness that is the world in which we live.
But music — music is a soothing balm for our weary psyches, a soft, warm blanket to wrap around ourselves when the news is just too terrible to contemplate. Whatever that music is — whatever it takes to take the hurt away for a few moments or a couple of hours — that is the music of our lives today. For when your “soul is in the lost and found.” And your heart needs peace.
Listen to something beautiful.
ⓒ 2016 Claudia Grossman
Hi Claudia, Very well said. Carol King was and still is a great singer and performer. At least music is a comforting getaway!!!! Say hello to Bruce for us Pat & Larry
Thanks, Pat & Larry! Will do.
Amen!!!!!!You hit the high note. Dena
Claudia – You captured the conflict and the synchrony of your experience beautifully. Like you Tapestry was formative in my teen years. I was transported by the musical Beautiful, as I am by music generally. Thank goodness. ~ Susan
Thank goodness, indeed.
As always, Claudia, you said it so perfectly.
Tapestry was for me, like you – like others here – the soundtrack to teen years. I remember watching an excellent documentary series on jazz with my father, and in it someone said the music we listen to when we are 15, 16 – our ‘formative years’ – is the music that resonates with us all our lives.
I remember, as a teen, walking down streets and singing Beautiful, out loud. It felt so profoundly, uniquely, my own.
Carole King was speaking to me then, as you are now.
I started singing Beautiful again, a few years ago – again, out loud, walking around our neighbourhood in South Kensington (London) – and posted the song on my wall – and someone – Fran Parker, I think – said she just saw the play in NY. Til then – I honestly didn’t even know it was a play!
It’s in London – or, it was – and I really must go see it.
Our news – our UK news – sometimes feels localised, like the world ending with the Brexit REferendum – or global, like Nice, or the other night, staying up for hours about Turkey, which was a bullet, dodged.
But, as an American married to a (dual citizenship) Brit, living here but also feeling American, the news this minute of yet another murder of policemen – this time in Baton Rouge – is really shaking us to the core. It feels like Americans are assassinating their own police, which is a terrifying thought. What if kids stop growing up wanting to be cops? Who will protect us then?
We – Americans – have spent decades arming people who aren’t necessarily mentally stable, without checking first if they are. Trying to explain to someone arriving on this planet for the first time.. the idea that a man could drive a truck into a crowd of families, children, babies..
So yes. For you to have experienced those two events at once, and write so eloquently: music soothes, and connects, us all.
Thank you, as always, Claudia, for sharing your world with us, your followers.
Thank you, Jill, for your heartfelt response. These are such terrifying times — it almost seems as if the world is tilted wrongly on its axis. I’m so thankful for the bright moments — like Beautiful the other night — and only hope, with everyone else I’m sure, that the universe rights itself. Soon.
Claudia: Nice job. All my best to you and your hubby, Bruce.