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