BWW Review: BEAUTIFUL:THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL at Music Hall
I've been a Carole King fan ever since I was 10 years old and first heard "Where You Lead" as the theme song to my favorite show, so I was very excited to finally get the chance to see Beautiful: The Carole King Musical at the Music Hall.
Beautiful starts out with 29-year-old King (Julia Knitel) playing her solo concert at Carnegie Hall June 18, 1971, But instead of the show following "A Night With: Janis Joplin" and being a pseudo-concert with King telling little anecdotes throughout, Beautiful follows King throughout her career from the time she was 16 and sold her first song, "It Might as Well Rain Until September", to songwriter extraordinaire Donny Kirshner (James Clow), to the heartbreak she felt as her husband, Gerry Goffin cheated on her, to when she finally got the nerve to be a singer, and ending it back at Carnegie Hall.
Knitel played the part of Carole with finesse. The transformation from insecure young women to powerhouse was seemingly flawless. She captured the rough, but heartfelt, voice that is so ironically Carole.
Along the way the audience meets some of the key players in King's life like her mom (Suzanne Grodner) who was hesitant at first to let her daughter go into show business, instead wanting her to finish her degree and be a teacher, but as most proud moms, got on board and even rewrote the history telling Kirshner "Can you believe she wanted to be a teacher?" The audience goes through the motions of falling in love with Liam Tobin as Gerry Goffin and the betrayal when is came out that continuously cheated on King.
I've been fan of Ben Fankhauser's since Newsies and he didn't disappoint when it came to his portrayal of the neurotic and loveable Barry Mann. And Erika Olson as Cynthia Weil was a firecracker with her headstrong attitude and progressive views on marriage.
The biggest stand out of the show was of course the music. As soon as Knitel started the opening notes of "Will You Love Me Tomorrow," there was a sigh of nostalgia across the entire audience. As well as a collective gasp when "One Fine Day" went from the up-tempo bop we all know to King taking over for a soul-ripping version when her husband tells her he wants to cheat her. The show ends with its namesake, "Beautiful," but during the curtain call, there is an audience sing-a-long to "I Feel the Earth Move" that will have you on your feet, clapping, and singing along at the top of your lungs as the cast has a mini dance party on stage.
Beautiful plays at Music Hall until April 2nd. For tickets go to http://www.ticketmaster.com/venueartist/49167/2117653?_ga=1.198954607.194164842.1490800264.