Every day is opening night.

“You’ve Got a Friend”

Ladies and gents,

Full disclosure – I had a boozy lunch and I’m filing this week’s column more than a little tipsy. Please forgive any typos or narrative flights of fancy. Carole King‘s Tapestry was a seminal moment for everyone who owned a record player in 1971, so I know my experience with that album is not unique. Suffice to say, I wore my copy out. I was smoking a lot of grass in those days, and I used to dance around my bedroom in bare feet belting out “Natural Woman” until all hours.

Ms. King got me through what was a very weird time in my life.

So imagine my delight Thursday night, seated in prime orchestra seats at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre watching Beautiful for the fourth time, when Carole herself casually strides out onto the stage after the curtain call. Turns out, it wasn’t just a surprise for the audience that she was there. Even the cast didn’t know she was coming. Star Jessie Mueller, who plays the music icon to perfection in the hit musical, was in tears before Carole hit center stage. Carole, quite famously, had heretofore refused to see the musical about her life, saying that it was too troubling to watch her story played out onstage. I don’t know what convinced her to finally show up, but she didn’t seem the least bit shaken by the portrayal. To the contrary, it was a love fest between her and the cast. Of course, she wasn’t just there to talk. No, when Ms. Carole King is on a stage, she sings. She offered the audience the chance to hearher perform “You’ve Got a Friend” to raise money for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. A thirty-thousand dollar donation was offered up, and suddenly Carole was belting out those glorious notes backed up by the band.

The 20th century produced plenty of great singer/songwriters, but there is something about this Jewess from Brooklyn that has endeared her to fans in a way that none of her peers have managed to replicate.

I leave you, dear readers, with these immortal words:

If the sky above you
Grows dark and full of clouds
And that old north wind begins to blow
Keep your head together
And call my name out loud
Soon you’ll hear me knocking at your door

Tidbits from around town…

Spotted Allison Williams at Bridges of Madison County wiping away tears.

Saw Daily News critic Joe Dziemianowicz standing in the rain on West 43rd Street.

Overheard Tobey Maguire‘s boyish giggle ring out above the rest of the crowd’s laughter at a recent performance of A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder.

As always, a toast of something sparkling to you and yours!