Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Review: BEAUTIFUL, THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL at DCPA

Review: BEAUTIFUL, THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL at DCPA Throughout history, performance artists have become staples in pop culture, many of which can rightfully claim "icon" status. However, aside from music performance, songwriting has long been an underrated quality in the music industry. Even if songwriters become notable performers, it is not always widely known that they have written, and continue to write, for other top artists. Such is the case of Carole King, as told by Beautiful, The Carole King Musical.

The show tells the story of King as she grows from a naive 16 year old to the six time Grammy-winning artist she is today. The lives of those around her were also integral to the production, as I'm sure they were in real life. Out of all the bio-musicals I have seen, this is certainly my favorite. I appreciated that the song interpretations, by and large, were kept in this sort of realistic setting, either in a recording studio or on stage, as opposed to placing songs to fit scenes. I also appreciated that the show doesn't entirely revolve around Carole and that is also reflected in the music of the show. With music not only by King and Gerry Goffin, but also close friends and fellow songwriters Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, Beautiful gives fair representation to the other important figures in King's life.

The show has quite a few well-rounded design elements that all fit together seamlessly. Colors of warmth and comfort were relevant throughout, with yellow and gold serving as a rather appropriate choice of accents. Scenic Design by Derek McLane paired with Lighting Design by Peter Kaczorowski made for a dynamite-duo. I will admit, I found some of the direction and blocking to be a little stiff and structured at times - "move here, go there." Aside from that, the creative team has done a fine job with this work.

The supporting roles in the show are all very complementary to each other, and the actors playing the roles filled the shows with ease. Dylan S. Wallach as Gerry Goffin, Alison Whitehurst as Cynthia Weil, and Jacob Heimer as Barry Mann each gave a strong portrayal of those the played and their vocals were as equally impressive. James Clow as Don Kirshner and Suzanne Grodner as King's mother, Genie Klein, were both comfortable in their performances and seemed to be at home in the roles.

The writing in the show allows for many of the ensemble members to also have a moment to be featured throughout the production. John Michael Dias, Marla Louissaint, Dimitri Joseph Moise, Deon Releford-Lee, Nathan Andrew Riley, Michael Stiggers, Jr., Mckynleigh Alden Abraham, DeAnne Stewart, Alexis Tidwell, Paul Scanlan, and Aashley Morgan were all featured and each of them added to the performance as a whole. Brava to all.

As the incomparable Carole King, Sarah Bockel shines. If there is one word I could use to summarize her performance, it would be "confident." Bockel's portrayal of King was true and authentic, and her vocals - as King - were spot on.

Above all, Beautiful, The Carole Kine Musical is a time capsule. As I said before, I appreciate the the story doesn't fully revolve around her, but that it is still her story. King and the show are living proof that music history is just as important to our culture as political and world history events.

Beautiful, The Carole Kine Musical runs at DCPA September 4-9, 2018. For tickets visit https://www.denvercenter.org/tickets-events/beautiful-the-carole-king-musical/.




From This Author - Jon Bee

Jon Bee comes to Denver by way of St. Louis, MO. A longtime musician and thespian, he has worked with the Tennessee Williams Festival St. Louis, as well as STAGES St. Louis, both in the administrative... (read more about this author)


Review: Kristin Chenoweth in Concert at Colorado Symphony
August 15, 2022

If you want to view paradise, go see Kristin Chenoweth in concert. In her recent engagement with the Colorado Symphony, the legendary good witch cast a captivating spell over the audience from the moment she took the stage of Denver's own Boettcher Hall.

BWW Review: DEAR EVAN HANSEN at Denver Center For The Performing Arts
June 10, 2022

What did our critic think of DEAR EVAN HANSEN at Denver Center For The Performing Arts?

BWW Review: CATS at DCPA
June 2, 2022

There are some shows that you have been waiting a lifetime to see that once you see it, a meaningful and transformational experience can occur. Big name musicals that travel the world and finally make their touring stop in your city. And then there are shows that you've waited for with high expectations that instead leave you asking, 'Is this what the hype is all about?'

BWW Review: QUIXOTE NUEVO at DCPA
May 27, 2022

Throughout the decades, some shows have stood the test of time while newer productions test their strength to stand among the best. And sometimes, you see a new show about an old tale that is a sight for sore eyes. In DCPA's current prodution of Quixote Nuevo, audiences are delighted to a family tale with some twists and turns that would leave even Miguel de Cervantes in stitches.

BWW Review: RESPIGHI'S PINES OF ROME & JOYCE YANG at Colorado Symphony
March 17, 2022

In their recent concert, the Colorado Symphony opened with Apu: Tone Poem for Orchestra before moving on to Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 24, K. 491 featuring guest artist Joyce Yang, piano.