BWW Review: BEAUTIFUL THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL Moves the Earth at Overture Center
The opening Overture's combination of "I Feel the Earth Move" flowing directly in to "Jazz Man" set the audience's hook. Carole (Played to perfection by Julia Knitel) opening the show with "So Far Away" reeled them in. The beginning piano notes were all it took to get the audience clapping enthusiastically. From there on it was two and a half hours (with intermission) of pure joy. Julia Knitel is captivating on stage. The way that her voice seems to mature as the show progresses is a testament to just what an incredible talent she is.
We witness Carole's meager start in the Bronx as she sells her first song to Don Kirshner (James Clow) and heads to college meets and falls in love with future husband and lyricist Gerry Goffin (Liam Tobin). Through hard work Carole gets an office in the famous Brill Building with Kirshner. The combination of starting a family too young soon and the ups and down of the music industry soon takes its toll on the young couple. With Gerry out all hours of the night, admittedly engaging in an extra-marital affair, Carole struggles to maintain her marriage along with her career. When enough becomes enough and Carole tells Gerry that she is leaving him, the audience is so caught up in the performance that we break into spontaneous and thunderous applause. Through her pain and insecurity about her abilities, we again burst into applause when her mother Genie Klein (Alaina Mills) recalls the young girl who pushed her mother "off the piano to finish writing her song.... which she sold...without Gerry!"
The surprise for me in this show surrounded an entirely different couple. Songwriting rivals Barry Mann (portrayed with comedic brilliance by Ben Frankhauser) and writing partner/love interest Cynthia Weil (Erika Olson). As Carole and Gerry's relationship disintegrated, Barry and Cynthia's grew. Barry was without a doubt the main comic in this work. Not that everyone else didn't have comedic timing or moments, because they did...but Barry stole the show on this front. The neurotic hypochondriac Brooklynite and his future wife/ writing partner wrote over 60 hits together and both were a pleasure to watch every time they were on stage. I can't imagine anything erasing the memory of Barry angrily banging on the piano and singing "You've Lost that Lovin' Feeling" because he hated the words "Woh woh woh". I am still laughing about that!
I knew the Carole King story, having been a fan since the 70's, so there was not a lot of new information here. (That being said, I did learn that she dated Neil Sedaka in high school and was the inspiration for his hit song, "Oh Carol".) But I wasn't here for a history lesson. I was here for a night of what I hope would be great theater...and that is exactly what I got. It is so amazing to see Broadway shows here in Madison. Bravo to the Overture Center for bringing them in. Go see this show. You'll not regret it!
BROADWAY'S SMASH HIT BEAUTIFUL - THE Carole King MUSICAL WILL PREMIERE IN MADISON AT OVERTURE CENTER TUESDAY, JUNE 13 - SUNDAY, JUNE 18, 2017
Madison, Wis. - Overture Center, Broadway Across America and producers Paul Blake and Sony/ATV Music Publishing announced that tickets will be available for individual sale Saturday, April 8 for the 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. Beautiful will make its Madison, Wis., premiere at Overture Center for the Arts for one week Tuesday, June 13- Sunday, June 18, 2017.
Ticket prices start at $45 and will go on sale Saturday, April 8 at 9 a.m. in person at the Overture Center ticket office (doors open at 8 a.m.); online at overture.org at 10 a.m., or by phone at 608.258.4141 at 11 a.m.
Long before she was Carole King, chart-topping music legend, she was Carol Klein, Brooklyn girl with passion and chutzpah. She fought her way into the record business as a teenager and, by the time she reached her twenties, had the husband of her dreams and a flourishing career writing hits for the biggest acts in rock 'n' roll. But it wasn't until her personal life began to crack that she finally managed to find her true voice. Beautiful tells the inspiring true story of King's remarkable rise to stardom, from being part of a hit songwriting team with her husband Gerry Goffin, to her relationship with fellow writers and best friends Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann, to becoming one of the most successful solo acts in popular music history. Along the way, she made more than beautiful music, she wrote the soundtrack to a generation. Beautiful features a stunning array of beloved songs written by Gerry Goffin/Carole King and Barry Mann/Cynthia Weil, including "I Feel The Earth Move," "One Fine Day," "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman," "You've Got A Friend" and the title song.
"Carole King might be a native New Yorker, but her story of struggle and triumph is as universal as they come - and her music is loved the world over," producer Paul Blake said. "We know that audiences throughout the country will embrace this show just as Broadway and London audiences have."
On September 13 in San Francisco, Beautiful - The Carole King Musical welcomed Julia Knitel (Carole King) and Erika Olson (Cynthia Weil). They joined the company that included Liam Tobin (Gerry Goffin) and Ben Fankhauser (Barry Mann), with James Clow (Don Kirshner) and Suzanne Grodner (Genie Klein).
The ensemble of Beautiful includes Andrew Brewer, Erin Clemons, Josh A. Dawson, Matt Faucher, Rosharra Francis, Jacob Heimer, Willie Hill, James Michael Lambert, Traci Elaine Lee, Jay McKenzie, Alaina Mills, Aashley Morgan, Paris Nix, Elena Ricardo, Kris Roberts, Ximone Rose, Avery Smith and Salisha Thomas.
With a book by Tony® and Academy® Award-nominee Douglas McGrath, direction by Marc Bruni and choreography by Josh Prince, Beautiful features a stunning array of beloved songs written by Gerry Goffin/Carole King and Barry Mann/Cynthia Weil. The show opened on Broadway at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre (125 West 43 Street) in January 2014, where it has since broken all box office records and recently became the highest grossing production in the Theatre's history.
For more information and a video sneak peek, please visit www.BeautifulOnBroadway.com.
The Original Broadway Cast Recording of Beautiful - The Carole King Musical (Ghostlight Records), won the 2015 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album and is available on CD, digitally, and on vinyl. Beautiful opened in London at the Aldwych Theatre in February 2015 and launched its First National Tour in September 2015.
The creative team of Beautiful also includes Derek McLane (Set Design), Alejo Vietti (Costume Design), Peter Kaczorowski (Lighting Design), Brian Ronan (Sound Design), Charles G. LaPointe (Wig and Hair Design), Steve Sidwell (Orchestrations and Music Arrangements), Jason Howland (Music Supervision) and John Miller (Music Coordination).
Beautiful - The Carole King Musical is produced on Broadway by Paul Blake, Sony/ATV Music Publishing, Jeffrey A. Sine, Richard A. Smith, Mike Bosner, Harriet N. Leve/Elaine Krauss, Terry Schnuck, Orin Wolf, Patty Baker/Good Productions, Roger Faxon, Larry Magid, Kit Seidel, Lawrence S. Toppall, Fakston Productions/Mary Solomon, William Court Cohen, John Gore, BarLor Productions, Matthew C. Blank, Tim Hogue, Joel Hyatt, Marianne Mills, Michael J. Moritz, Jr., StylesFour Productions, Brunish/Trinchero, and Jeremiah J. Harris.
Beautiful - The Carole King Musical, part of the Broadway at Overture Series, is presented in partnership with Broadway Across America.
OVERTURE CENTER FOR THE ARTS in Madison, Wisconsin, features seven state-of-the-art performance spaces and five galleries where national and international touring artists, ten resident companies and hundreds of local artists engage people in nearly 700,000 educational and artistic experiences each year. Overture.org
BROADWAY ACROSS AMERICA is part of The John Gore Organization family of companies, which includes Broadway.com, under the supervision of 9 time Tony-winning producer John Gore (Owner & CEO). Current and past productions include Beautiful, Cats, Dear Evan Hansen, Fiddler on the Roof, Finding Neverland, Hairspray, Million Dollar Quartet, On Your Feet!, School of Rock and The Producers. BroadwayAcrossAmerica.com; Broadway.com