BWW Review: BEAUTIFUL: THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL Brings Iconic Songs and An Inspirational Story To Vancouver!
On November 13th, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical delighted audiences with Carole King's inspiring story during its opening night at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver. Bursting at the seams with many classic tunes from the past, the show was a powerful and emotional musical experience.
Playing in Vancouver from November 13th - 18th, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical tells the story of Carole King's early life. Throughout the show, we get a glimpse into King's songwriting career (and relationship) with Gerry Goffin and their friendship with fellow songwriting duo Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann at 1650 Broadway in New York City. The show offered an appropriate snapshot of King's life that focused on many important pivotal moments in her career and home life. It was ultimately the inspiring story of King's rise to stardom that was the highlight of the production.
BEAUTIFUL: THE Carole King MUSICAL was very similar to the production of Motown: The Musical that came to Vancouver in early February with Broadway Across Canada. During the musical, the audience was transported back in time as famous groups such as The Shirelles and The Drifters entered the stage to perform their hits written by King/Goffin and Weil/Mann. At times, these performances by the groups were more prominent and lasted longer than the actual scenes involving the main characters, which gave the musical a "concert-like" vibe. Although I felt that there could have been less of these performances in the show, the music did keep the audience entertained and interested, acting as a catalyst to forward the show's main plot. As the audience was comprised of an older demographic, their familiarity of King's music added to their enjoyment of the show judging from the audience reactions I observed. Songs such as "Some Kind of Wonderful", "On Broadway", "You've Got A Friend", and "Beautiful" had the audience swaying their heads to the beat and grinning with excitement and satisfaction.
Despite it's similarities to other musicals I've seen, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical is able to distinguish itself from others through its inspiring plotline. From having a child at a young age to raising a family while managing her songwriting career, King's life was not easy. Her life was often hectic at times and filled with many challenges; however, she always found time for her musical passion. Faced with many tough decisions in her early life, King chose to do what was right for herself and for her family, which led her to a successful career in music. Beautiful: The Carole King Musical is an inspiring show that reminds people of all ages to never give up on their dreams.
Notable performances included Sarah Bockel as Carole King and Dylan S. Wallach as Gerry Goffin. I loved every single minute of Bockel's performance as the legendary Carole King. From the minute she walked on-stage at the start of the show to her emotional performance of "Beautiful" at the end, you instantly fall in love with her. Bockel's acting was very natural and sparked deep emotion during the more intense scenes of the production. Her strong, dynamic vocals supplemented by her elegancy made her overall performance my favourite part of the show. In addition, Wallach brought immense intensity to his character. As Gerry Goffin, Wallach perfectly portrayed Goffin's transition from a charismatic young man to a conflicted and restless husband. Wallach definitely reminded me of Broadway star Jeremy Jordan as both have an alluring stage presence and powerful vocal ranges. Wallach's ability to evolve with his character throughout the show is indicative of his astounding acting abilities.
Overall, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical will provide you with a theatre experience filled with feel-good music and will leave you entertained. Even if you live "So Far Away" definitely make the trek to Queen Elizabeth Theatre to see it, you won't regret it.
Photo Credit: Joan Marcus