Beginning with the Carnegie Hall concert in June 1971 to celebrate her album Tapestry, Beautiful the Carole King musical story quickly goes back 14 years to a 16-year-old King (then Carol Joan Klein) about to sell her first song (It Might as Well Rain Until September)In the blink of an eye, King has a new name, is pregnant, married to the man who would become her world famous song writing partner, Gerry Goffin, and churning out hit after hit.
This isn’t a tale of sunshine and happiness there’s a lot of pain behind the songs making it more than the straight forward sing along musical: Very young motherhood and marriage, self-doubt and Goffin’s mental collapse and infidelity. It also explores the friendly rivalry between Goffin and King and fellow song writers (and real-life partners) Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann at their Times Square hit factory at 1650 Broadway. The real life aspects of the tale, make the story more believable to the audience.
It manages to tug at the heart strings whilst the songs tell the story: Will You Love Me Tomorrow, Up on the Roof, One Fine Day, The Loco-Motion and Pleasant Valley Sunday from Goffin and/or King, and Mann and Weil’s Walking in the Rain and On Broadway, to name a few snippets rather than full numbers at times. The full production numbers like the Drifters On Broadway and particularly The Righteous Brothers’ You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling, Barry Mann’s rendition of We Gotta Get Out of This Place and King’s own (You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman and You’ve Got a Friend are outstanding
Bronté Barbé, captures King and when at full throttle, wow! Amy Ellen Richardson’s Cynthia Weil is a knockout, her energy levels and voice are a treat. Kane Oliver Parry is a good Gerry Goffin, the object of our ire for the evening, and Matthew Gonsalves excels as the fantastically comic, and hugely talented hypochondriac, Barry Mann. The ensemble are first rate, doubling up for the hit acts who recorded King’s songs.
Beautiful is the story of one woman quite literally finding her voice. After a career providing hits for some of the biggest artists of the 60s, King emerges from the shadows, uses the highs and lows of her life and finally claims the limelight for herself. Both empowering and entertaining, a ‘must-see’ show with humour and great singing.
Beautiful runs from Tuesday 24 – Saturday 28 April 2018.
Tickets are on sale now and are available from the Box Office, by calling 0844 871 7649 or visiting www.atgtickets.com/stoke