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