Beautiful – The Carole King Musical, the new show based on the life and work of the titular singer-songwriter, is now playing at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre. Before she became a chart-topping solo artist recording her own material, she was Carole Klein, an awkward teenager with a dream of writing pop songs. By the time she reached her 20s, she had a partnership with her husband, Gerry Goffin, and together they turned out hits for such artists as The Monkees, The Shirelles, The Drifters, Little Eva, and Aretha Franklin. But when her personal life falls apart, she strikes out on her own both as a writer and performer, becoming one of the top acts in pop music history. Her first solo album “Tapestry” became the soundtrack for a rebellious and soul-searching America. The show stars Jessie Mueller as King as well as Jake Epstein, Anika Larsen and Jarrod Spector. Here are five reasons to feel the earth move under your feet at Beautiful.
Watch as a Brodway star is born
Jessie Mueller has won raves for supporting roles in revivals of On a Clear Day You Can See Forever and The Mystery of Edwin Drood. With her sensitive portrayal of Carole King, she become a full-fledged Broadway star– and a Tony nominee. Not only does she capture the tender ache of King voice, but she charts her journey from eager-to-please girl to confident woman and star. Her renditions of “Will You Love Me Tomorrow?” to her new baby is especially moving.
Hear King favorites
The score is chock-full of such King hits as “I Feel the Earth Move,” “Will You Love Me Tomorrow?,” “So Far Away,” and “Natural Woman,” as well as her earlier pop collaborations with her husband Gerry Goffin such as “The Locomotion,” “Take Good Care of My Baby,” and “Some Kind of Wonderful.”
Weil and Mann Hits As a Bonus
Not only do you get to hear several Carole King classics, but like bonus tracks on a special edition CD, the score includes many chart-toppers from Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann, the married songwriting team who were Carol’s best friends. These include “He’s Sure the Boy I Love,” “On Broadway,” “You’ve Lost That Loving’ Feeling,” and “Walking in the Rain.”
Get a big helping of music history
King’s career as a songwriter, faithfully depicted in the the show, is closely linked to the legendary Brill Building, which provided a home for numerous record labels, producers, and songwriters in the late 1950s into the 1960s. Producer Don Kirschner matched King up with numerous groups of the day, giving raise to a new sound (“the Brill Building sound”) influenced by Latin music and rhythm and blues.
Groove to your favorite 50s and 60s groups and singers
The Drifters. The Shirelles. The Righteous Brothers. Neil Sadaka. Little Eva (who worked for King as a babysitter). They’re all here.