Tuesday is ‘One Fine Day’ for Carole King fans


UPDATE: Congratulations to ticket winners Timothy Savage
and Erin Adams.

ORIGINAL POST: Broadway in Fresno kicks off its 2017-18 season with its biggest production of the year. “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical,” which opens Tuesday, Oct. 24, will play for eight performances through Sunday, Oct. 29. That’s compared to a two-night run (most often Tuesdays and Wednesdays) for most shows in the series.

What can you glean from this? That “Beautiful” has the name recognition and broad appeal to attract thousands more people to the Saroyan Theatre than other shows in the season lineup. It’s also a Broadway-level production featuring actors who are members of Actors Equity, the professional stage union, which isn’t always the case with shows that tour through Fresno.

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Leading role: Sarah Bockel plays Carole King in “Beautiful.” Photo / Matthew Murphy

(If you haven’t yet gotten your tickets, here’s a chance to see the show for free: I’m giving away two pairs of tickets to the opening night performance. More details at the bottom of this post.)

I got to see “Beautiful” on Broadway in 2014, and I can see why it’s such a big hit: Unlike many so-called jukebox musicals that focus on one person’s music, this one has a strong, compelling storyline. We follow the young King just as she’s getting her start in the business, through the ups and downs of success and relationships, the music complements the emotional trajectory of the story. And, of course, some of those songs by the famed singer/songwriter are so well known you’ll be humming along after just a few bars.


I caught up with Sarah Bockel, who recently took over the role of Carole in the national tour, a few weeks ago by phone when she was playing in Oklahoma City. Here are Five Things to know about her and “Beautiful.”


SarahBockel Headshot

Bockel knows this part really well. She may have only had the official leading role for a month or so, but she’s already played Carole more than 50 times since 2015, when she joined the original national tour cast.

She understudied for Abby Mueller, who took the role of Carole on the road in the tour. (Abby’s sister, Jessie, originated the role on Broadway.) When Bockel wasn’t stepping in for Carole, she played the ensemble role of Betty, which is the normal understudy track. Her experience in the show also includes a five-week stint as a substitute on Broadway.

Altogether, she figures she’s appeared in one role or another more than 1,000 times in “Beautiful.”


Listen for the rustle, rustle, rustle. That’s what Bockel calls it when the Carole King fans in the audience start to stir in anticipation when their favorite songs are introduced.

Most of them want to hear songs from King’s fabled “Tapestry” album.

But even many King fans aren’t aware of all the songs that she wrote for other groups, particularly when she was just starting out: “Some Kind of Wonderful” for The Drifters, for example.

The show also gets to throw in music by the songwriting team of Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann, whose friendship and rivalry with King and her husband Gerry Goffin forms much of the narrative’s dramatic backbone. That’s how you get to hear such tunes as “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling” and “Uptown.”


It’s a tough role. Bockel came to this realization working alongside Abby Mueller on the national tour.

“Abby played the role beautifully, and simply, and vulnerably,” she says. “I didn’t want to replicate, but I knew what the role needed. I’m insecure, just like everybody, and I like to laugh at myself, and I say stupid things and face-palm my forehead, and that’s what the role needs, is somebody who can laugh at themselves.”

It’s also a role that requires an actor to go through a lot of heartbreak each night.

“It can be hard to start out so hopeful and joyful, and then go through the things that she does,” she says.

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You’ve Got a Friend. (l to r) James Clow (“Don Kirshner”), Jacob Heimer (“Barry Mann”), Sarah Bockel (“Carole King”) and Sarah Goeke (“Cynthia Weil”)


When it comes to music, family background matters. What you’re exposed to when you’re young can have a profound impact on your musical taste and appreciation later in life.

“I grew up with older siblings,” Bockel says. “My brother was a Deadhead. My sister loved hair bands. My favorite when I was in grade school was Janis Joplin. My sister opened me up to Janis, Carole King and Fleetwood Mac.”

She has King’s “Tapestry” album on vinyl, and a little portable record player to play it on that she can’t, alas, take with her on tour.

Her familiarity with King’s music has helped her with the details — by knowing how, for example, to perform the singer’s classic vowel sounds. It’s not an impersonation or impression, but more an appreciation. “Because I grew up listening to her I know what I needed to sound like,” she says.

Her favorite King song in the show? “It’s Too Late.” She loves singing it.

King’s impact on music continues to this day, she adds. “I feel like I can hear her influence in groups like Haim.”


“Beautiful” is, ultimately, a happy show. Which also makes Bockel happy. Those thousand-plus performances for Bockel seem like a pretty good way to spend her time. Sure, it might sound a little sappy, but there’s a pursue-your-dreams, go-for-the-gusto optimism in a show like this that is hard to resist.

It can even make a musical-theater performer in a national tour sound like, well, a songwriter.

“If you can give all the love in your heart, if you can just inspire people to be just a little kinder the next day after they’ve seen the show, I’ve done my job,” she says.

Win tickets to ‘Beautiful’

I’m giving away two pairs of tickets to Tuesday’s opening night performance of “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical” (7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 24, Saroyan Theatre). Here’s how you enter: Leave a comment on this post telling us your favorite song by King. (Some possible titles: “You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman,” “One Fine Day,” “Up on the Roof,” “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” “You’ve Got a Friend,” “It’s Too Late.”)

Or, if you’re shy about your musical tastes, tell us why you want to go to the show.

I’ll pick two winners at random. You’ll be able to pick up your tickets at Will Call. Deadline to enter is midnight Sunday, Oct. 22. I’ll get back to the winners Monday morning.

Show info

“Beautiful: The Carole King Musical,” opens 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 24, Saroyan Theatre, 700 M St., Fresno. Runs through Oct. 29. Tickets $21-$79.

Ticket lottery: A limited number of tickets for all performances of “Beautiful” will be sold to winners of a random lottery drawing. Winning tickets are $20 each and limited to 2 per winner. You can only win the lottery once, so choose only the performances you can attend. Results will be emailed Monday, Oct. 23, at 12:00 pm. If you are a lucky winner, you will be able to purchase your tickets online using a special code to complete your purchase. No need to come down to the theatre. Deadline to enter the lottery is 11 a.m. Monday, Oct. 23. Enter at this link.

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Covering the arts online in the central San Joaquin Valley and beyond. Lover of theater, classical music, visual arts, the literary arts and all creative endeavors. Former Fresno Bee arts critic and columnist. Graduate of Columbia University and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Excited to be exploring the new world of arts journalism.

Comments (53)

  • Patty

    One Fine Day….it’s catchy! Would love to see the show!

  • The sense of yearning in “So Far Away” never fails to bring a small lump in my throat.

  • Danielle Shapazian

    One Fine Day is one of my favorite Carole King songs. It’s a fun song to sing as well! I would love to see the show!!!

  • Gloria Burrola

    I Feel the Earth Move! Would be a real treat to see this show.

  • Stephen

    I loved on that Divas show when all these stars (Including Carole) sang “Natural Woman.” Celine Dion, Gloria Estefan, etc.

    Then The Queen of Soul comes onstage and kills them ALL. Celine is the only one who seemed like she was trying to keep up, but Aretha just calmly blew them all away. Love Carole King.

  • Wayne Steffen


  • Robin

    Will you still love me tomorrow

  • Cat

    I love So Far Away. <3

  • Laurie Zimmer

    One Fine Day is my favorite. So many to choose from!

  • Silvia Fisher

    One Fine Day

  • Erin Adams

    So Far Away! But really, they’re all amazing. My mother used to play the Tapestry album non-stop when I was young.

  • Lisa Winter

    You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman. I first heard it when I saw The Big Chill, one of my favorite movies.

  • Kristine Kelly

    You’ve Got a Friend is my favorite but Up on the Roof is a close second…all of Carole’s music makes me smile!

  • Crissy Martinez

    It’s Too Late!

  • James F Smith

    My favorite Carole King song is “I Feel The Earth Move”! It’s just so uplifting and has a great opening!

  • Bri Villanueva

    One of my fondest memories is listening to my grandma sing “So far away” really off key on Saturday mornings while she was cleaning.

  • Linda

    I feel the earth move under my feet. You can get with this song.

  • Amanda Maples

    Carole King… swoon. A lifelong favorite and a connection to me mum ❤️

  • Jennifer Money

    One Fine Day

  • Lana Rotan

    You’ve Got a Friend

  • Kathy Robinson

    Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow.

  • Brad Davis

    Love all Carol King

  • Jennifer J Goettsch

    So Far Away. It helped me after my brother was killed. But now I sing it with joy.

  • Michael

    “It’s too late” will always be my favorite..

  • Michele Rodriguez

    Our family favorite is “If I didn’t have you to wake up to each day”. It was on a lullaby CD that we played for both our children, who are now grown. We are recent empty nesters and we are trying to enjoy and support the arts with our new found free time!

  • Ellie

    So many!! I can’t pick just one, by if I must… “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” is one of my top favorites.

  • MICHAEL Sosa

    My 16 yr old daughter has the classic vinyl “Tapestry” on constant rotation on her record player. She says it’s her study music

  • Reverend lilly Reed

    I Like Smackwater Jack…would Love to see the show!!

  • Linda Tucker

    You’ve Got a Friend

  • Donna Beavers

    I’ve always had a special connection to You’ve Got a Friend. I sang it with a friend in Jr High school.

  • Zeke

    One Fine Day for sure!

  • Michelle Olson

    “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” – I’ve been that girl! But content me loves “You’ve Got A Friend”, as well.


    You’ve Got a Friend

  • Denise Norwood

    I Feel The Earth Move

  • I love the songs Carole King wrote for the stage musical adaptation of Maurice Sendak’s book, Really Rosie, but my favorite is “Alligators All Around.”

  • Nancy Becker

    One Fine Day!

  • How do you choose? Such an amazing artist! I guess I Feel the Earth Move, or It’s Too Late as favorites, oh or Beautiful.

  • I love the whole Tapestry album, one of the first I bought for myself. “You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman” has a special place in my heart — for reasons a bit too personal to mention!

  • Amelia Hernandez

    Natural woman

  • Danielle Y

    Will you still love me tomorrow!

  • “You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman!” I adore broadway musicals! This one looks so fun. Would love to go!!!!!

  • Emily Campbell

    I Feel the Earth Move is a fave, but they’re all so freakin good!

  • Karan Johnson

    I wore out the Tapestry album. “You’ve Got a Friend” is my favorite.

  • Jose Ruiz

    I would like to see a professional musical production seems like a wonderful show!

  • Pat Austin

    Smackwater Jack is one of my many favorites!

  • Janet Farris

    “Tapestry” was the album I played the most in my youth. I can’t pick just one song.

  • John H

    So far Away

  • Jessica Haynes

    It’s almost impossible to pick a favorite from that album! I love the whole thing and have the Vinyl framed in my office. It’s probably a tie between “you’ve got a friend” and “I feel the earth move”

  • Margie Vogt

    One Fine Day is one of my favorites. Would love to see this show, I enjoy so much if her music!

  • tommy

    The link for ticket lottery is not working. Please help.

  • karen hau

    I feel the earth Move under my feet…. her songs reminds me of my parents
    They used to play her songs during my childhood hahah

  • karen hau

    Donald, I was trying to get to the link for the lottery tickets but it doesn’t seem to pop up ? Can you please tell me what the website is ? Thank you much


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