Jessie Mueller

Music Monday … She Used to Be Mine

When I recently (like on Saturday) went back in my Youtube history I re-stumbled across Jessie Mueller singing Sara Bareilles’ “She used to be mine” from the musical Waitress. And while I was listening to it and watching Ms. Mueller – whom I love in Beautiful two years ago as you could read here – sing I remembered the day I showed it to my Mom for the first time. Somehow and I really can’t say why the both of us ended up crying on the couch and my Mom said: “Oh…maybe we should go to NYC again this summer and see shows!”

And although it took us another month until we put that into action and now we’re going. In July.

HAPPY MONDAY, FOLKS.

 

You’ve got to get up every morning … Beautiful – The Carole King Musical on Broadway

no Beautiful-specific shot this time, because the facade of the Stephen Sondheim theatre is so beautiful and special, a shot of this has to do. ;)

no Beautiful-specific shot this time, because the facade of the Stephen Sondheim theatre is so beautiful and special, a shot of this has to do. 😉

When I was born, the Carole King party had been over quite a while already, but for a couple of years I had been familiar with one of her songs without knowing. (You make me feel like a) Natural Woman, which is included in a Aretha Franklin triple CD edition, has been very present as a song in my life.

In the first production videos of Beautiful Jessie Mueller stood there, singing this song and I was all like: Wait? I thought that was Aretha’s song.

And then I learned that Beautiful would play at the Stephen Sondheim theatre and I so needed to see this – because I have a crush on this theatre building ever since Tim, our BroadwayUpClose tourguide (read what that is over here!), told us that only the front was old and while the theatre was brand new and actually downstairs. You basically enter the building and for everything that’s not the mezzanine you go downstairs.

Now on to the show itself! We get to know Carole King when she’s around 16 and then she follow her career as a song-writer and her marriage with her collaborator and everything. While we do so, we hear a lot of her tunes – sometimes they’d be introduced like “Oh, I have an idea!” and they play two or three harmonies on the piano and suddenly there’s a fully staged number (in gorgeous costumes!) going on. It’s easy to say that Beautiful is kind of a regular jukebox-musical, which people mostly see because I know and love the songs at least that’s what I heard from people going into and leaving the theatre (and in the hotel elevator: “Oh, Tapestry was the first ever CD I bought! And we’d store our dope in the booklet later on!”).

Just here this post could be finished if it wasn’t for Jessie Mueller. I mean she is the really bright spot of this show (without really shining most of the time if that makes sense). I’ve read a lot about her in the show beforehand and I already knew I liked her voice – but what I saw right there in the theatre was a complete surprise. With most of the performances I see I can say that in case I can’t say anythings (or at least: not much) about the acting is must be good in a certain way. Regarding Jessie Mueller in Beautiful I am almost 100% sure that I haven’t seen something like this in a show like this in musical theatre. Ever. Saying she IS Carole King would be wrong (at least for me), because nobody is Carole King with the exeption of Carole King herself. But Jessie Mueller makes us believe she was Carole King. In every not outgoing characteristic King is known for. She is so unglamorous, so not confident and insecure – and she lets others take the stage. For example Anika Larsen as Cynthia Weil with the amazing voice she shows in her rendition of “Happy Days Are Here Again” and all this funny things she gets to say to Jarrod Spector as Barry Man (while Jessie Mueller as Carole only gets to struggle with Gerry Goffin/Jake Epstein). Mueller seems to be the calm spot holding everything together. From where I sat I could see that basically everytime she stands up after she sat for a while she’d pull up her pants in a kind of awkward manner and somehow this made her character real in a very “Behind the scenes of a TV show”-kind of way.

To conclude: I loved Jessie Mueller, her acting and her singing, I liked all the leads and the overall singing, while I wasn’t that much into the book and the ‘plot’ – I mean it was nice to watch and everything, but it was nothing special. But then again, Jessie Mueller’s performance was so special it’s worth everything.

Favourite Friday: Seeing the Joy

During Beautiful (both, the show AND the song!) I was lucky enough to be able to see both Jessie Mueller in her long blue dress at the grand piano AND the conductor Jason Howland. I could also see that the piano wasn’t so much of a piano, it was pretty much castrated (what would the Girl of Once say to that? 😉 ) – but I guess still mostly everyone agrees on Jessie Mueller doing an amazing job mimicking playing the piano.

Anyways, during this impressive piano-part towards the end of the song – I was able to see the joy of making music and the joy of acting as if one is creating music and, most of all, the love for music.

And this, my friends, is an important part of the theatre communities across the globe: We (mostly) love what we do and with some people you are lucky enough to see that!

You can get a sense of Ms. Mueller’s part of loving the music in this video!

What do you love?

Are you able to do what you love most?