Beautiful – The Carole King Musical is the new must-see, heart-warming, feel-good, dance in your seat jukebox bio-musical currently showing at Sydney Lyric Theatre.
Written by Doug McGrath and starring Esther Hannaford as Carole, Beautiful tells the tale of music legend Carole King (seriously, I didn’t realise how many incredible songs she wrote!) It is a story of strength, determination, love, heartbreak, great friends and self-belief all set to an incredible soundtrack. Esther is an absolute standout on stage. She brings warmth, compassion and an incredible voice to the performance. She is the true star of the show!
The musical starts with Carole King (born Carole Klein) as a teenager on the verge of selling her first hit, Will You Love Me Tomorrow, to a popular record label. It is at the record label where she meets song writing duo fun and passionate Barry Mann and the bubbly and fierce Cynthia Weil who become not only playful rivals but also very close friends of Carole.
Carole then meets, falls in love with and marries lyric writer Gerry Goffin and they become a hit making machine duo. By the time Carole turns twenty she has written number ones for the biggest acts in rock ‘n’ roll, including The Drifters, The Shirelles, Aretha Franklin and The Monkees. The show is played in part at the studio, around a piano as Carole and Gerry write and develop the songs and then the theatre really comes to life when the ensemble hits the stage to perform Carole’s hits. The ensemble is the triple threat, all signing, all dancing and all dressed in matchy-matchy out fits! They truly bring Carole’s songs to fabulous, glitzy reality!
Carole is at the top of her game musically, but then her personal life starts to crack and crumble around her. Gerry cheats on her, spirals into depression and their marriage falls apart. It is then that Carole finally manages to find her own voice and writes her hit album Tapestry proving it is true what they say, it takes a lot of pain and heartache to write a great album!
The show is fast paced, an emotional roller coaster, a beautiful contrast between raw & authentic, and glitz & glamour and is absolutely full of great hits from (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman, I Feel The Earth Move, Take Good Care of My Baby, You’ve Got a Friend, So Far Away, One Fine Day, It’s Too Late, Tapestry and Locomotion.
Carole King’s story is one that I never knew but am so glad I now know. She was a true musical legend and one of the most successful solo act in popular music history. Beautiful is an absolutely stunning representation of Carole’s story and the standing ovation from the whole audience at the end of the show proves that it is an absolute must-see!
Beautiful: The Carole King Musical is showing at Sydney’s Lyric Theatre until 21 January 2018