It has been a long time sense I have enjoyed an entertainer so much I did not want the performance to end. But, such was the case March 14 as I met the electric Julia Knitel. “Who?” you say. Of course, I realize, Julia Knitel is not a well- known name streaming daily across our social media, but she should be…with accolades of her talent.
Knitel plays the lead role of Carole King in the production Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, and she is magnetic. Her musical talents, acting ability and huge joyful smile communicate to the audience she truly loves her job and it is tempting to leave your seat to join her on the stage and belt out captivating songs which have withstood the test of time. In fact, one of my favorite moments was when she invites the audience to join in “I feel the earth move under my feet…” All ages were singing and perhaps at the Majestic the earth did move.
For just a moment, I went back in time to my bedroom with 45 RPM records, a hairbrush in hand performing for dolls and stuffed animals music I loved…One Fine Day, Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow, Chains, Up On the Roof, Locomotion…so many hits I had no idea Carole King had her writing stamp on. The story of her life with songwriter Gerry Goffin was new information to me. The Carole King I knew best was “Tapestry” and she accompanied me to my dorm freshman year in college and stuck around. Little did I know the history King had together prior to this.
Ultimately, the joy and magic of this performance is in the music, but it takes great entertainers to bring the music alive. There are many throughout this cast. In fact, Liam Tobin is so convincing as the cheating husband, I almost did not clap for him at curtain. But, of course, the audience rose immediately to its feet to reward all of them.
However, it is Knitel who will keep a smile on your face for two hours…and maybe even the rest of the week. We can all use a healthy dose of joy. Don’t miss this one, San Antonio. It is a lesson in music history you will love.