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Review: BEAUTIFUL: THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL Helps Jackson Feel the Earth Move

Beautiful: The Carole King Musical

Beautiful: The Carole King Musical began its performance on Wednesday night in Jackson, Mississippi with an empty stage, a grand piano, and a song that sets the tone for an incredible, emotional journey about to be undertaken. The touring production's stop at Thalia Mara Hall on March 11th was presented by Trustmark as part of the theatre's Broadway in Jackson series.

With a book by Douglas McGrath, Beautiful features iconic words and music by Gerry Goffin, Carole King, Barry Mann, and Cynthia Weil and tells the story of singer-songwriter Carole's path to stardom. It wasn't an easy ascent to the top for Carole, and she faced heartache and hardship along the way, but one so beautifully told through her own songbook, including some of her greatest hits written with Gerry Goffin for The Drifters, Little Eva, The Shirelles, and Janelle Woods.

Leading the company in the role of Carole King herself is Kennedy Caughell, whose performance is a masterclass in riding the emotional rollercoaster that is the role of Carole King. From a shy, naive teenage girl with big dreams, to a young mother living on love, to a wife in a tumultuous marriage, to a woman finding herself, picking herself back up, and finding her independence when everything fell apart and becoming the woman the world knows today. And Caughell's performance doesn't stop at her acting, not at all. She has the vocals to back it all up! When in reference to her husband and songwriting partner Gerry Goffin (who is navigating his own incredibly rocky emotional path, played quite convincingly by James D. Gish) and his distancing himself from her, she infuses heartbreak into every bit of songs like "Will You Love Me Tomorrow (Reprise)" and "So Far Away" while bringing the house down with with powerful songs such as "One Fine Day", "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" and "Beautiful". The whole company is fantastic - if ever a show were perfectly cast, this is it.

This stellar cast and entire production are absolutely incredible, and the show is very easily enjoyed by young people not familiar with Carole's generation of music as well as those who grew up in the days when Carole's songs were topping the charts.

Due to the current COVID-19-related health and safety concerns, some upcoming performances of Beautiful have been cancelled. The tour's itinerary and links to purchase tickets can be found below, but it would be prudent to contact your theatre to see if cancellations will interfere with ticket purchases/attendance.

https://beautifulonbroadway.com/tour/



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But BEAUTIFUL is structured differently than most 'backstage biomusicals.' It's not a rags to riches story, exactly, nor the routine tale of one woman's ascent to superstardom. Mercifully, we are spared the obligatory plot points of that particular formula. King never learns her contract is unconscionable nor fires a manager in dramatic fashion. There is no descent into addiction, fall from grace, dramatic career slump, or climatic comeback...

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Broadway in Fort Lauderdale has announced the Tony & Grammy Award-winning Broadway hit Beautiful—The Carole King Musical, about the early life and career of the legendary and groundbreaking singer/songwriter, will make its Fort Lauderdale return to the Broward Center for the Performing Arts for five performances June 17-19, 2022.

BWW Review: BEAUTIFUL: THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL at The Paramount Theatre Photo
Jukebox musicals are a mainstay of the American Musical Theater. They have recognizable hit songs built in and instant appeal for fans. But they’re difficult to get right, needing a good book to incorporate the songs into a cohesive story. Even more difficult is the jukebox bio-musical where they’re trying to tell the story of the artist’s life with their own songs. Read our critic's review.

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The Carole King Musical will return to the Paramount Theatre for three performances only – on Friday, April 8 (8pm) and Saturday, April 9 (2pm and 8pm). The two previously scheduled performances on Sunday, April 10 (1pm and 6:30 pm) have been cancelled due to the limited availability of transportation to ship the set to the tour’s next engagement.

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From This Author - Juliana Asbill

I’m a recent college grad from Madison, Mississippi, having just finished my time at Mississippi College. I'm an assitant teacher in a 2nd grade class and am always kept on my toes! ... (read more about this author)


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