Beautiful: The Carole King Musical / our review
Flawless INSPIRING remarkable
May 23rd, 2018
Beautiful: I WILL still love you tomorrow!
Fun Fact: The Shirelles shot to number one on the Billboard chart with Will You Love Me Tomorrow - making it the first female written song at number one, sung by an all-black female group! Go girls!
Target Audience: Beautiful is a wonderful trip down music memory lane, with a heartwarming story about one of America's greats! It is layered with some of the best songs you have ever heard.
Best Bit: Carole King is played by Chilina Kennedy, who is perfection. The transformation of this powerhouse is done flawlessly and her final song Beautiful, sung by the real Carole King at Carnegie Hall in 1971, will have you grinning from ear to ear!
Morning After Effect: What a remarkable, NATURAL WOMAN! Totally inspiring.
In 2018, we are not surprised by the teenyboppers moving through the music industry at a rapid rate producing hit songs, and then disappearing from the limelight almost as quickly as they shot to fame. However, in the late 1950s, it was certainly a surprise when Carole King began her musical career as a songwriter at seventeen! And... she was a girl.
If you were born in the late 80s or 90s you might think you don't know who Carole King is but, let me assure you, you do! This Brooklyn-born girl was taught piano by her mother and her hits were not fly by nights but songs that are as just good today as they were then! She didn't have to wear skimpy outfits or tons of makeup to be noticed. And when your songwriting resume includes The Drifters, The Shirelles, The Cookies, The Monkees, The Beatles... shall I go on? Okay, James Taylor, Aretha Franklin, The Chiffons, Janelle - well, let's just say, you won't be forgotten!
Carole King went on to record her own music in 1971 marking a massive change in the music industry for the singer-songwriter trend! She also happened to win a Grammy for Best Album, Record of the Year (It's too Late), Song of the Year (You've Got a Friend), and Best Female Pop Vocalist, in 1972 for her album Tapestry. Later in her career she received three more Grammys, the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, and The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. Oh, and she was inducted into the Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for songwriting. Yes, this young mother was literally rocking out and breaking all the rules by being true to herself!
Of course, the early years of King's career include her partner in marriage and writing Gerry Coffin (played by Evan Todd). Beautiful on Broadway looks at their sweetheart relationship fuelled by the love for each other and music. Being a young married couple with kids doesn't sound like the Rockstar persona you would imagine in the 1960s and this production does a tremendous job guiding us through their story, and how it influenced so many of the hits we still recognize today. We also see their competitive friendships with Cynthia Weil (Jessica Keenan Wynn) and Barry Mann (Ben Jacoby), who were also hugely successful with their songwriting careers.
Everything about this production was BEAUTIFUL, and seamlessly moves from one era to another capturing both the intimacy of this story and the vibrant sounds that make you want to get up and dance! Each department knocks it out of the park giving King's music the focus it so deserves!
View our show pages for more information about Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, Steven Tanger Center for the Arts.