Winter Park / Theatre: Play honors Carole King, James Taylor
February 1, 2008
The Grand Theatre Company announces the opening of its next feature, A Tribute to James Taylor and Carole King at 7 p.m. next Thursday.The play features local musician and songwriter Yaniv Salzberg (as Taylor) and theatre company co-owner Kimberlee Nanda (as King). Additional talents helping make the show possible include performers Jeremy Farmer, Hannah Heckerson and Randel Davis; Brian Rygwalski on lights and sound and Wayne Blumberg assisting.Nanda said the company, along with husband and co-owner Tanny, are very excited to be presenting the tribute. For almost four decades, Carole King and James Taylor have defined the singer-songwriter movement that began to flourish in the ’70s. These two lead such dynamic lives and shared a very special friendship, Tanny said, adding that the two were born into the music scene among the company of greats like Paul Simon, Neil Sedaki, The Beatles and Crosby, Stills, & Nash. Tanny’s first introduction to Carole King was over a decade ago, at a benefit show for a theatre company in Grand Lake. My good friends and I got together to sing all the hits from Carole’s landmark record, ‘Tapestry,’ he said. A strong woman who did so much in the field she loved at a time when men ruled the charts is truly inspiring.During that benefit, Tanny said he and his friends couldn’t help but sneak a few Taylor songs into the mix. They just fit so well. And, of course, the two of them had some great duets … Very few musicians have been releasing albums as long as he has (and) he’s still releasing albums. And the majority of the work is his own writing. James is a talented musician with a sensitivity toward the changing world.Salzberg said he didn’t know much about Taylor before he took on the role and that the musician has a unique right-hand finger style technique that has been challenging to emulate.I recognized his hit songs, of course, but I’d never dug in and tried to learn any of his material before we started rehearsing, he said. Now, I’m a big fan. Not only is he a legendary songwriter, he’s also an outstanding guitar player.Throughout his extensive career (and from Sweet Baby James in the 1970s to album October Road in 2002) Taylor has been awarded five Grammys and 40 gold, platinum and multi-platinum awards. Just a few popular hits on the long song list are: Country Road and Something in the Way She Moves. As Taylor, Salzberg will perform several of the favorites, including Fire and Rain, Carolina on My Mind, and Rainy Day Man.The local artist, who has a recording background and has already made a name for himself as a professional musician (with a new CD out recently), said that the theater is one of his favorite elements in the county. He also had the opportunity to perform once before for the Grand Theatre Company, as musician Hank Williams.American singer, songwriter and pianist Carole King has won four Grammys and was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame for her music, which mostly emerged from the 1970s. Hits include You’ve Got a Friend and several songs written together with Gerry Goffin, including the theme song to TV show I Dream of Jeannie and The Monkees’ Pleasant Valley Sunday.This is not just a concert, it’s a show, Tanny said. Between songs, the company will present small vignettes from Taylor and King’s lives, with some original scenes based on actual events. The first act reflects their time as up-and-coming artists, while the second act moves years ahead to a live concert where they perform their greatest hits, Tanny said. The result is a fabulous melding of music and theatre resulting in a great show.Salzberg said it is also important to note that, despite the stories of many artists who spiral downward to destructive and oft-times tragic endings, Taylor and King’s stories are unique instances when that formula fortunately doesn’t apply.Curtains open to A Tribute to James Taylor and Carole King at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 7 with shows also scheduled Feb. 9, 15, 21, 23 and 29; and March 6, 8, 14, 20, 22 and 28. It is rated PG.The play is presented along with Romantic Fools, which opened last Friday with future performances scheduled Feb. 1, 2, 8, 14, 16, 22 and 28; and March 1, 7, 13, 15, 21, 27 and 29. This feature is rated R for sexual content and language, is not intended for children.Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for seniors and students, and a full cocktail and dessert service is available before, during and after the shows.The Grand Theatre Company is a non-profit organization. If interested in becoming a sponsor, call (970) 726-5048. The Grand Theatre Company is located in Units 202 and 203 at the Park Place Shopping Center, next to the Silver Screen Cinema.