Beautiful-The Carol King Musical Theatre Review

A review by Suzanne Birrell.

The highly anticipated LA premier of Beautiful-The Carol King Musical finally happened at the Hollywood Pantages. It is definitely a Wow-Wow-Wow! Prior to the show and based on the publicity photos and even being a fan of Carol King starting with Tapestry, I had not been looking forward to the show. 2 ½ hours of Carol King sitting at a piano? How could that be a great show? Boy was I wrong. Within two minutes, with Abby Mueller as Carol King, I was drawn in and settled in my seat. And what a story there is. If you love the heart and soul of the award winning album Tapestry, then you will absolutely love this show. A singer/songwriter does not just drop into the world with an album like Tapestry and Beautiful is the story of getting there.

Beautiful is the story of a young girl who dreamed of being a songwriter and pushed her way thru the doors of New York's Aldon Music. It's the story of meeting and marrying the man of her dreams. It's the story of that first big hit Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow, penned with her husband Gerry Goffin played by Liam Tobin, and marching down the road to success. Beautiful is also the story of an enduring friendship/competition with songwriters Cynthia Weil (Becky Gulsvig) and hypochondriac Barry Mann (Ben Fankhauser) Producer Don Kirshner (Curt Bouril)

Beautiful-The Carole King Musical is a rich story colored with ample comedy and pathos. The story celebrates an era. Carol and her husband Jerry are riding high and then things start tumbling down. As the marriage breaks down the story follows Carol's self-doubt.   Beautiful-The Carol King musical is the Rocky of the music. When the character of Genie Klein, played with comic verve by Suzanne Grodner, reminds Carol at her lowest ebb, that she is a lyricist, the audience interrupts to cheer. It's that kind of moment.

The Shirelles are Ashely Blanchet, Britney Coleman, Rebecca E. Covington and Salisha Thomas.

Beautiful features hit songs of the 60s by Weil and Mann and by Goffin and King and performed with stellar arrangements by Steve Sidwell, outstanding choreography by Josh Prince, and high energy focused ensemble work from the performers who emulated the original artists: The Shirrill's, The Drifters, The Righteous Brothers, Little Evie and more.

The Drifters are Josh A. Dawson, Paris Nix, Jay McKenzie, and Noah J. Ricketts.

The costumes by Alejo Vietti were magic-really. When the Shirelles went from casual to sequin when walking behind a 4 foor wide panel, we were impressed. But when Eva the babysitter turned in Little Evie the star, gasps of appreciation were elicited from the audience. (I want to see that part again.)

The book by Douglas McGrath is ingenious; The direction by Marc Bruni is brilliant. Beautiful-The Carol King Musical is just that Beautiful. I highly recommend it- A must see for sure.

JUNE 22 - JULY 17, 2016

Theatre: HOLLYWOOD PANTAGES THEATRE 6233 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028

Performance Schedule: Tuesday - Friday at 8pm

Saturday at 2pm & 8pm

Sunday at 1pm & 6:30pm

Schedule Exceptions: Added 2pm Matinee Performances on Thu 6/23 & Thu 7/14

There is no evening performance on Sun 7/17

Posted By Suzanne Birrell on June 28, 2016 12:07 pm | Permalink