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'70s Icon Celebrated In Hit Production

A Broadway hit musical finds its way to the Majestic Theatre. Two of its principle players, Ben Fankhauser and Erika Olson, who play the songwriting team Mann and Weil, offered some insight into the show. 

"This is the point in our music history where all the pop music was written in office buildings by a small group of composers. There was a lot of competition because this was before the singer/songwriter era," says Fankhauser.

Their primary competition--and their best friend--was Carole King. The musical Beautiful is the story of King's music business ascent.

Olson noted, "It's like this very interesting glimpse at the behind-the-scenes life of a song writer.  Such deceptively simple  lyrics, and they hit you so deep. And I think that's very beautiful about her songwriting."

But it took some real heartbreak for King to find her best writing voice, as Fankhauser pointed out.  

In the moment in our show when we see that shift is when she sings It's Too Late.  

"She was talking about her failed marriage," said Erika. "Really heart-breaking, but at the same time really inspiring."

"She is a resilient human being, a great song writer, amazing pianist, and most people know her from Tapestry," Fankhauser says.

Tapestry came after her dissolved marriage and her move to California, and earned four Grammy Awards. The music-filled production runs through Sunday at the Majestic, and Olson says there's a lot of music.

"They're all hits from the great American songbook. However, they are strung together through a very real plot line,"  Fankhauser concurred.

"Yeah, oh, this is a great show. And a great time. And audiences really love it. And I love being a part of something that brings that kind of joy to people."

Find more on Beautiful here

Jack Morgan can be reached at jack@tpr.org and on Twitter at @JackMorganii