Beautiful: The Carole King Musical is a wonderful celebration of the music of Carole King and the music of her generation. The music is a joy to listen to and the story is fascinating to watch unfold. It follows Carole from the very beginning of her song writing career to the release of her acclaimed album Tapestry. Through the growth in her career, and also the throughout her relationship with her song writing partner, and late husband Gerry Goffin. It is no wonder that the show has been running strong on Broadway for nearly 5 years.
The entire show is a wonderful package. The set designed by Derek McLane is simple enough to let the story shine through, while still being a feast for the eyes. The back panel is a subtle collage of music gear from the era of Carole King. With a multilevel set with moving pieces in front which easily shift for seamless scene transitions. The costumes by Alejo Vietti wonderfully match the design esthetic and there are a couple quick changes that are sure to make you clap. Lighting design by Peter Kaczorowski and Sound Design by Brian Ronan allowed the show to shift between the feel of a play to a concert in seconds.
The cast that tells the story and sings the songs every night is anchored by a strong ensemble, who all get a change to be a star at some point in the night. Sarah Bockel takes on the role Carole King, after being an ensemble member in the last national tour. She beautifully captures her voice, and has the audience rooting for her from the very beginning.
My one complaint is that for a show where so many of the songs are performed as if you are watching a concert, I felt too often like I was watching an actor playing a popular musician, rather than I was at a concert of that popular musician myself.
Beautiful the Carole King Musical is playing at the Orpheum Theater, part of the Hennepin Theater Trust, through October 27th only. Click here for more information about the show and how to get tickets.
You are sure to love the show if you are a fan of Carole King, the music of the 60s, or stories behind the music that have become so engrained in our popular culture.
*Photo Credit : Joan Marcus