Review Roundup: Broadway-Bound BEAUTIFUL in San Francisco
The Broadway Premiere of the highly anticipated new musical Beautiful-The Carole King Musical, about the early life and career of the legendary and groundbreaking singer/songwriter, will begin previews at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre (124 West 43rd Street) on Thursday, November 21, 2013, with an official opening night set for Sunday, January 12, 2014, following its World Premiere at San Francisco's SHN Curran Theatre. With a book by playwright and Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Douglas McGrath, direction by Marc Bruni and choreography by Josh Prince, Beautiful features a stunning array of beloved songs written by Gerry Goffin/Carole King and Barry Mann/Cynthia Weil.
Long before she was Carole King, chart-topping music legend, she was Carol Klein, Brooklyn girl with passion and chutzpah. She fought her way into the record business as a teenager and, by the time she reached her twenties, had the husband of her dreams and a flourishing career writing hits for the biggest acts in rock 'n' roll. But it wasn't until her personal life began to crack that she finally managed to find her true voice.
Let's see what the critics had to say...
Dennis Harvey, Variety: A decade of hits rivaling those in "Jersey Boys" and "Mamma Mia!" in terms of boomer nostalgia value is the estimable main selling point of "Beautiful - The Carole King Musical," which despite its title is semi-evenly divided between songs by two creative/domestic partnerships, Gerry Goffin/King and Barry Mann/Cynthia Weil. There's a lot to like in this unpretentious jukeboxer: Douglas McGrath's book is better with sly laugh lines than serious matters of the heart, but with Jessie Mueller's winning Carole and so many '60s golden oldies briskly packaged in Marc Bruni's warm, lively production, imminent Broadwayprospects look upbeat if not sky-high.
Robert Hurwitt, SF Gate: If you didn't love King before, you should be won over by the charming and ever-more impressive Jessie Mueller, who plays her in this Broadway-bound musical bio. If you're leery of yet another jukebox musical, all doubts should be blown away by the bounteous, boisterous, musically precise "1650 Broadway Medley" that sets the scene, time and cultural context, lifts the heart and kicks the show into high gear.
Karen D'Souza, San Jose Mercury News: Mueller's wistful performance of "It's Too Late" is among the musical's showstoppers. You can hear her sound blossom. You can hear the echoes between her life and her work. You can hear a legend being born. If only there were more such moments in this show, "Beautiful" would truly make the earth move under our feet.