Beautiful: The Carole King Musical is a celebration of talent that crossed decades and music that has stood the test of time. It is a story following the rise of Carol King’s musical career and the ups and downs of her life.
The show opens with 16-year-old King, a Brooklyn native, bright eyed and dreaming of becoming a professional song writer. She attends college, where she meets Gerry Goffin, who will become not only her writing partner but her husband. The play follows the amazing story of Goffin and king’s balanced talent with music and lyrics.
It shows the harsh reality of their marriage and how their art suffered at times as a result. The story reveals the power of the music business and the relationships that are built among like-minded artists looking for the next great sound.
The show, of course, would be nothing without its music. Some of the most popular songs of the ‘60s were showcased, just to name a few: “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?,” “Some Kind of Wonderful” and “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling” were written by Goffin and King and their close friends, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil. The songs are performed with such energy and charisma you can feel the glimmer of their accomplishments and the heartbreak of songs that inspired and have lasted as classics for the last 50 years.
As the show develops, so does King. Her grace in the midst of adversity shows her admirable efforts to become the voice of a generation. She spends most of her young life trying to overcome self-doubt and her shy and goofy demeanor. While clearly the most talented amongst her peers, she is also the most shaken in her confidence. She comes to recognize her own talent and takes her pain, emotion and creativity and throws it into her music.
Jessie Mueller, who plays the young King, has captured the essence of the rock star in her youth. The great supporting cast of Annika Larsen as Weil, Jarrod Spector as Mann and Jake Epstein as Goffin creates a funny, energetic show that reveals the struggle and beauty of the music at that time. Well-written and amazingly choreographed, the musical aptly depicts the life of King and the talent that was found in the most unexpected of places.