BWW Review: BEAUTIFUL at Arsht Center - It's a Love Fest for Carole King
There was a packed house at the Arsht Center for BEAUTIFUL, the homage to singer songwriter Carole King, and there were whistles, woo hoos and woots at the first note of each of the 27 musical numbers. And that's love.
"Beautiful" is a smooth production. Masterful sets slide seamlessly and the lighting is excellent. And fie on anyone not impressed with the talents of the large cast.
Sixteen year old Carole King is unassuming, skinny, and obsessed with writing music and Julia Knitel's portrayal of her is entrancing as she arcs from 1958 through 1971, reliving her first song sale, her romance with and marriage to lyricist Gerry Goffin (the touching Liam Tobin), the birth of her two daughters, her friendship with songwriters Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil (Erika Olson and Ben Fankhauser), her move to California and finally her 1971 Carnegie Hall concert.
I'm not going to list them all, whew, but here are five by Carole King that'll lighten your day:
Take Good Care of My Baby, Will You Love Me Tomorrow, Up On the Roof, You've Got a Friend, You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman.
I'm guessing here that you've heard of Neil Sedaca, The Shirelles, The Drifters, Little Eva, and The Righteous Brothers. So rejoice. Their doppelgangers are at their best.
This is a road show, but don't hold that against it. It's two hours of equity theatre and all that means. Slick direction by Marc Bruni, fun choreography of the 'seventies by Josh Price and gorgeous, quick change costumes, a witty book and, ah, the singing.
There's a large rocking orchestra in the pit, and of course, actors playing instruments live on stage.
Credit: Joan Marcus