Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, presented by Broadway in Victoria, sold out Victoria’s Royal Theatre for 5 performances over January 31 – February 2, 2020. Whilst the rain pounded the pavement outside on opening night, inside all thoughts of the weather were washed away by the steady stream of beautiful performances on stage.
Beautiful: The Carole King Musical begins in 1971 as Carole King (Kennedy Caughell) takes the stage at Carnegie Hall, then in flashback the audience witnesses her life from humble beginnings as 16 year old Carole Klein selling her first song to impresario Don Kirshner(Matt Loehr). Along the way, the audience, and Carole meet writing-partner and future husband, Gerry Goffin (James D Gish), friends and competing songwriters Barry Mann (James Michael Lambert) and Cynthia Weil (Kathryn Boswell). Working for Don Kirshner the songwriting duos crank out a stunning streak of hit songs, creating the soundtrack of a generation. Take Good Care Of My Baby, Who Put The Bomp, Will You Love Me Tomorrow, Up On The Roof, On Broadway, The Locomotion, You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling, One Fine Day and more play out through the first act. While their professional career goes from strength to strength, Gerry and Carole’s marriage suffers.
In Act II, as the 60s wind down, the hits keep coming; (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman, Pleasant Valley Sunday, We Gotta Get Out Of This Place. A newly single Carole finds new strength and inspiration for her solo career leading to her groundbreaking Tapestry album, with its stellar song list; It’s Too Late, You’ve Got A Friend, I Feel The Earth Move, and Beautiful. Which brings us back to her 1971 Carnegie Hall performance to wrap the show.
While the Tapestry era songs are instantly identified with Carole King, the vast catalogue of music co-written with Gerry Goffin, along with those from Barry Mann with Cynthia Weil spark memories of the different artists and times they were performed. In Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, we hear the songwriters work on the songs, awesome vocalists themselves, before handing them to Don Kirshner to record them with The Shirelles, The Drifters, Little Eva, Righteous Brothers. The ensemble performers bringing these acts to the stage do an amazing job of recreating the sounds of the 50s and 60s.
While the book, by Douglas McGrath, delivers the heart of the story it’s the music that really touches the audience. Throughout the 2+ hour performance spontaneous applause, woots of excitement, and tears of joy were drawn out by the amazing music, vocals and acting. If you have the chance to catch Beautiful: The Carole King Musical on tour, jump at the chance to reminisce and enjoy an awesome evening of theatre.
Broadway in Victoria‘s next presentation, is coming in 2021, will be announced next spring so sign up to be the first to know.