Sunday, March 22, 2015

Doug McGrath Writes About "Beautiful" Project in PAW

Doug McGrath drew on his experience writing for the Triangle Show in penning the Tony Award-winning musical "Beautiful," about the career of singer-songwriter Carole King. In an essay titled "Writing Carole King's Life, Thanks to the Triangle Club," in the January 7 issue of the Princeton Alumni Weekly, McGrath wrote,

Everything I used to write Beautiful, I learned from my Triangle shows: sitting in the audience and listening for what works and what doesn’t and when it doesn’t, quickly finding a way to change it. It was at 185 Nassau St. and McCarter Theatre that I first learned not to be sentimental about something just because I wrote it.
At Princeton, I performed in several Triangle shows before writing one. The first show I wrote, Happily Ever After — for which I did the book and co-wrote the lyrics with David E. Kelley ’79 — received a fairy-tale reception from The Daily Princetonian. My second show, String of Pearls, which I wrote senior year, was more string than pearls. Our first run-through ran longer than Lawrence of Arabia. The officers of the club brought me into a room that in my memory had one lightbulb hanging from a fraying cord. They told me I needed to cut the show — a lot. I was shocked by this impertinent notion. Of course, they were right. This lesson stayed with me — by the time Beautifulopened, it was 20 minutes shorter than when we started.

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