Everyone talks about the glamour of performing on Broadway – singing on historical stages, working with incredible actors, or dancing in the most beautiful custom designs. Only those in the industry talk about the redundancy that can come with the jobs on Broadway. You may love “A Whole New World” but do you think you would still love it after playing the role of Jasmine for four years? (Luckily, Courtney Reed did!) While crew members of “Phantom of the Opera” may have nightmares about the organ intro for years after their employment, both the cast and crew drew the lucky straw with the music of “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical”. With its catchy tunes written by the ever-glorious Carole King, it’s hard to not want to work everyday as the music never gets old. It’s brilliant, timeless, and sometimes heart-wrenching that the crew keeps the backstage speakers on so they can hear the cast perform every night!
“Beautiful: The Carole King Musical” has a stunning, retro wardrobe that spans from the 50s to the 70s. Wardrobe Supervisor, Bobby Pearce, talked to us about the progression of the wardrobe through the show, the particularly masterful transition pieces worn by the Shirelles, and why Carole’s on-stage wardrobe is merely an inspiration from her original pieces instead of direct copies. Afterwards, we talked to the hilarious and charming Evan Todd (whom you may know as Jane’s book editor on “Jane the Virgin”) about his Broadway debut as Jerry (Carole’s first husband), how his character changes with each actress who plays Carole, and why everyone, not just hardcore fans, should see this musical.
Q&A with Bobby Pearce
What color palettes can we find throughout the show? Can you describe certain scenes as more orange, purple, maybe even black and white?
It was broken down more by period than color. Our designer happens to like blue, and it’s used in the finale. He certainly did think about color so everyone fits in the same scene, but it was more about the time period. The characters need to look good next to each other. Some of the scenes have a cool feeling or warm feeling so that everything looks good. He also does something that I noticed the first time I saw the upfronts. The end of the show is very turquoise, for the “One Fine Day” number. He has Carole in a pink [ensemble] which separates her from what’s going on, which is genius because her husband is having an affair with someone in that group and Carole stands out.
How would you say Carole’s wardrobe progresses as she becomes a mother and a more successful songwriter?
What really changes is her hair. [Her wardrobe] becomes looser and hip by the time she sings “You’ve Got a Friend”. She starts off not knowing a lot about fashion. As the show, and her real life, went on, she certainly became part of the period.
Were any of the designs based off of anything Carole wore in real life?
The difficult thing about designing a show is that you can look to something someone wore in real life, but it’s not going to tell the same story that it would today to an audience in 2018. They might look at it [now] and go “Wow, that’s horrible.” But it was high fashion in the period. So a classic ensemble is the “You Got a Friend” dress. It’s really of the period. The macramé belt is really of the period. What would have been more of the period is a patchwork design. On stage, it’d look like a quilt. You have to take a look at real history and what she really wore and tell the story in a way that the audience today would understand it.