After playing a couple for almost a year, Jarrod Spector and Anika Larsen haven't lost that lovin' feelin' yet. The 2014 Tony nominees star in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical as Grammy-winning Brill Building songwriters Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, the prolific husband-and-wife team behind such hits as "On Broadway," "Walking in the Rain," and, yes, "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'."
"We're perfect wherever we are — office, bedroom," Mann tells Weil in the show when proposing marriage. "We're good in all the rooms."
In which rooms are Spector and Larsen good? "There are certainly rooms we are not good in, because we're both in love with other people," says Larsen, laughing.
Adds Spector, "We're decent and respectful in all the rooms."
Right now, an hour before curtain, they're good together in Larsen's dressing room at Broadway's Stephen Sondheim Theatre, where Beautiful opened January 12 under Marc Bruni's direction and continues to draw packed houses. "This is unusual," notes Larsen, gesturing to Spector beside her on the sofa, "because a while back we made a conscious decision not to greet each other before the show. Normally when our characters meet for the first time, we're actually seeing each other for the first time that day. It adds a little extra spice to that moment."
Spector and Larsen hadn't met until what they call an "arranged marriage" on the first day of Beautiful rehearsals, prior to last fall's pre-Broadway, world-premiere engagement at San Francisco's Curran Theatre. "You just hope the village elders picked well for you," says Larsen, whose Broadway credits include Avenue Q and Xanadu. "We lucked out because we're so compatible in terms of work ethic and our relentlessness in wanting to make every moment work. The crew makes fun of us because we'll still come off stage griping about not getting a laugh."
"We knew we had good timing and chemistry early on," Spector says. "Even before the reviews came out."
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