Carpenters show returns to Downey to mark duo’s 50th anniversary

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DOWNEY — Fifty years ago, A&M Records signed a sister and brother duo called the Carpenters and released their debut album “Offering” (later re-titled “Ticket to Ride”), leading the way for the pair to become one of the most successful recording acts of all time.

Coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the monumental signing and album debut, We've Only Just Begun: Carpenters Remembered, a touring show based around the Carpenters' music and their story, will bring their behind-the-scenes portrait back to the Carpenters' hometown Downey Theatre.

The event will take place on Thursday night, April 25 at 7:30 p.m..

An official event of the fan-fueled "Carpenters 50th" convention that will bring together fans from all over the world, We've Only Just Begun: Carpenters Remembered sold out its first appearance at the then-newly renovated theatre in 2016.

Karen and Richard Carpenter, who have sold more than 100 million records worldwide, have long been associated with Downey. The Carpenter family, including then 16-year-old Richard and 13-year-old Karen, moved there from New Haven, Connecticut in 1963.

Both siblings attended Downey High School where Richard, already an accomplished pianist, came to the attention of the school band's director, and Karen played glockenspiel in the marching band to get out of gym class. She later switched to the drums and began singing with a jazz trio formed with her brother and a school friend.

By 1969, the Carpenters were signed to A&M Records, and the duo would go on to release 12 studio albums, two Christmas albums, two live albums, 46 singles, and numerous compilation albums.

The We've Only Just Begun: Carpenters Remembered show has brought the music of the Carpenters to U.S. audiences since it hit the road in 2013. Conceived by and starring Canadian singer Michelle Berting Brett, she created the show after being told repeatedly that she sounded like the late Karen Carpenter.

What began as a cabaret show with Berting Brett accompanied by a pianist has grown into a touring theatrical production that has played performing arts centers and concert halls as well as multiple engagements in Las Vegas, New York and Atlantic City.

Produced by Berting Brett's husband Mark Brett, the show is now backed by a seven-piece Nashville band under the direction of Harry Sharpe.

A special holiday version of the show, Merry Christmas Darling: Carpenters' Christmas, based around the Carpenters' iconic Christmas albums, tours during the winter months and recently completed its 2018 run of shows with stops that included at the Laughlin Riverside Resort, Mohegan Sun Casino, Paramount Hudson Valley Theatre in upstate New York and a sold-out engagement at The Orleans Casino in Las Vegas.

Tickets to the April 25 show are $35-$45 and can be purchased on the Downey Theatre website or by calling (562) 861-8211.