Review: BEAUTIFUL: THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL at the Arvada Center

The bio musical plays now through Oct 15

By: Sep. 21, 2023
Review: BEAUTIFUL: THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL at the Arvada Center

Review: BEAUTIFUL: THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL at the Arvada Center You're not too late, baby, to catch Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, now taking the main stage at the Arvada Center.

Bookended by King's Carnegie Hall performance, the show explores her life, beginning with her teenage foray into the record business with "It Might as Well Rain Until September." From there, she meets her writing partner and future husband Gerry Goffin in college. The show is basically an exploration of the side of songwriters' lives you rarely get to glimpse.

Carole is portrayed masterfully by Arvada Center regular Emily Van Fleet. A character chameleon in her own right, the range I've seen from Van Fleet over the years has been remarkable, and her Carole is no different. She keeps the role relatable and reachable, laying her heart into the music and performing it with the same vigor you'd expect from King herself.

Review: BEAUTIFUL: THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL at the Arvada Center Seth Dhonau plays Goffin with a ton of range. While there's no doubt he can handle it vocally, his most impressive feat is tackling Gerry's emotional rollercoaster of infidelity and addiction. Dhonau find a great balance in not overdoing the emotional pieces whule letting them settle with a more quieted intensity. 

Alongside the main duo is the songwriting team Cynthia Weil (an incredibly likable and effervescent Adrienne Robinson) and Barry Mann (EJ Dohring, who sings the hell out of it), who worked down the hall from them at the 1650 Broadway studio. Their songs help beef up the show's repertoire of classics, like "On Broadway" and "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling." Both Robinson and Dohring are stars in their own right with this production, frequently and easily stealing your attention. I couldn't get enough of them.

Review: BEAUTIFUL: THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL at the Arvada Center Directed by Lynne Collins, Beautiful follows the same formulaic biopic plot you'll catch with a lot of musicals following the life of a risen star. (You know, where the audience claps during the intro of each song just because they recognize it?) Bits of plot are interspersed between megahits, some performed by the artists that made them famous--The Drifters, The Shirelles and The Righteous Brothers. Those performers, including the ensemble, are outstanding. Yet it's the moments with the songwriters by themselves at the piano that emote Carole's undeniable magic.

Review: BEAUTIFUL: THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL at the Arvada Center Scenic design by Brian Mallgrave is a gorgeous represtation of mid-century modern wood accented with colorful lighting and the perfect amount of performance space, cleverly tranisitoning to each scene with ease. Choreography by Kelly Van Oosbree captures the decades and the iconic performers within them wonderfully. Costume design by Janice Benning Lacek, alongisde and wig, hair and makeup design by Jason Kyle Estrada, are fun and bring you right back to that era. 

Catch Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, playing the main stage at the Arvada Center now through October 15.

Photos courtesy Amanda Tipton Photography


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Chris has been writing with BroadwayWorld since 2014. He's also an actor, typically performing in musicals based on movies where he dies. He almost won a BroadwayWorld Award for Best Supporti... Chris Arneson">(read more about this author)

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