The Shmooze

Carole King, 'Beautiful' at Grammys and Broadway

By Masha Leon

Watching Carole King (introduced by Cyndi Lauper) perform “Beautiful” —  her ode to self-worth, from her Grammy winning album “Tapestry”— along with “Sara Bareilles counterpointing with her own “Brave,” was a classy moment at the 2014 Grammy Awards which validates why, just the night before, King got the Musicare’s “Person-of-the-Year” Award in recognition of her musical genius.

Surprisingly, King has yet to see Broadway’s “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical” that traces her creative journey.

Based on King’s personal coming-of-age saga with the requisite chuckles-eliciting Jewish mother injunctions [“Jewish girls don’t write songs — they teach!”] “Beautiful” is a standout; exciting, engaging and — though considered evocative for Baby Boomers —the immediacy of her lyrics and soul-pleasing music continue to resonate for the twenty-somethings.

Carole King and Nina Leon, 1987 // Credit: Karen Leon.

Jessie Mueller stars as a teenage composer/lyricist who marries her fellow Queens College alum and first husband Gerry Goffin (Jake Epstein). She is simply phenomenal. A master of many talents (Mueller/King writes the lyrics) she writes the music, she sings, she plays the piano and — oy! —does she suffer.

Around us, a multi-generational audience relishing a nostalgic look back at some of the best interpreters of King’s hits — The Shirelles, The Righteous Brothers, The Drifters — and a delightful Neil Sedaka impersonator singing his ode to “Carole.” The first time we saw “Beautiful,” Judith Jamison, Artistic Director Emerita of the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater was in our row. At a follow-up revisit last Saturday, TV producer Simon Cowell was at the end of the aisle.

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Jewish Rapper Drake Scoops Grammy

By JTA

getty images
Drake

The Jewish Canadian singer Drake won a Grammy Award, his first, for Rap Album of the Year.

Also, the indie pop band fun. won Song of the Year with “We Are Young” and Best New Artist at the 55th annual Grammy Awards on Sunday in Los Angeles. Its lead singer, Jack Antonoff, is Jewish, and he thanked all the band’s fans after fun. won in the latter category.

“We’ve been touring for 12 years and we haven’t made money for a very long time,” he told the crowd, extending a shout-out to girlfriend Lena Dunham.

For Drake, his album “Take Care” brought him the Grammy before the televised portion of the show began. He beat out Lupe Fiasco, Nas, The Roots and Rick Ross.

Drake had been nominated 10 times before breaking through this year. He also was nominated for Best Rap Performance for his song “HYFR” and Best Rap song for “The Motto.”

Fun. also performed at the Grammys, playing its hit “Carry On” during a staged indoor rainstorm at the Staples Center.

In his introduction of the group, actor Neil Patrick Harris said, “As legendary gangsta rap icon Katharine Hepburn once said, ‘If you obey all the rules, you don’t have any fun.’ “

Other notable Grammy winners were the English folk band Mumford & Sons, who won Album of the Year for “Babel”; Gotye, whose hit “Somebody That I Used to Know” won for Record of the Year; and Adele, who won her seventh Grammy for her live performance of “Set Fire to the Rain.”

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Aviv Geffen To Open For U2 in Greece

By Nathan Burstein

A former bad boy of Israeli rock is set to perform his first concert pro Bono.

Aviv Geffen, one of Israel’s top-selling musicians, will open for the Irish megastar band U2 at its September 3 show in Greece, singing for an audience of up to 70,000 at the Olympic Stadium, in Athens. The performance marks a new level of international visibility for the singer, a star in Israel since his teen years and at times one of the country’s most controversial performers.

Now 37, Geffen has focused in recent years on building an international profile, releasing his first English-language album in 2009. Written and recorded mostly in England, the self-titled collection drew on the talents of such producers as Grammy-winner Trevor Horn, who previously worked with Paul McCartney and Tina Turner, and Ken Nelson, a three-time Grammy winner best known for his partnership with Coldplay. Geffen downplayed the announcement of his U2 gig on his website, describing himself simply as “proud,” and instructing fans on where to buy tickets.

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