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Beautiful - The Carole King Musical

Beautiful - The Carole King Musical

Long before she was Carole King, the chart-topping music legend, she was an ordinary girl with an extraordinary talent.

She fought her way into the record business as a teenager and sold her first hit, Will You Love Me Tomorrow, when she was just seventeen. By the time she reached her twenties she had the husband of her dreams and a flourishing career writing hits for the biggest acts in rock ‘n’ roll from Aretha Franklin to The Monkees, The Drifters, to The Shirelles. But it wasn’t until her personal life began to crack that she finally managed to find her true voice.

BEAUTIFUL tells the inspiring true story of King’s remarkable rise to stardom, from being part of a hit songwriting team with her husband Gerry Goffin, to her relationship with fellow writers and best friends Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann, to becoming one of the most successful solo acts in popular music history. Along the way, she wrote the soundtrack to a generation, with countless classics such as You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman, Take Good Care of my Baby, You’ve Got a Friend, So Far Away, It Might As Well Rain Until September, Up on the Roof, and Locomotion.

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Beautiful - The Carole King Musical ON TOUR

Our review on Beautiful - The Carole King Musical

Beautiful - The Carole King Musical - Palace Theatre, Manchester - Tuesday 11th October 2022 by Julie Wilson

Our Rating


You can’t mention Carole King without mentioning her phenomenally successful album Tapestry - one of the all-time greats.  It provides hit after epic hit and was performed in concert all over the world, including New York’s Carnegie Hall, where tonight’s musical starts us off.  Beautiful is an exciting jukebox musical which tells the story of the eponymous Carole King’s great success in the music industry during the 60s and 70s. Featuring a vast array of chart hits from ‘The Locomotion’ to ‘Some Kind of Wonderful’ and the infamous ‘Natural Woman’, this musical not only followed King’s growth as a person, but also demonstrated her development as an artist.



We follow King’s story from her being a talented singer songwriter teenager as she meets music mogul Don Kirshner (played beautifully – no pun intended – by Garry Robson).  We watch as she falls in love and marries Gerry Goffin and they become an unstoppable song writing team.  We are introduced to the friends she makes along the way of her remarkable journey, including best friends and rival song writing duo Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann.  There is a brilliant scene that even shows how the two couples were pitted against each other to come up with the next big hit, given a deadline, enormous pressure, and still they all came out smiling and the world much richer for the song it produced.  We are drawn into King’s world, her extraordinary talent, kindness, and determination, and are reminded and surprised to find just how many songs she wrote, and how she often generously gave them away to other artists.  It is a lovely, tale of triumph.  Beautiful is smart in the way it uses the music on offer to it, taking artistic license to match it up with King’s circumstances, and make it seem like the song was specifically written for that moment in her life.  For instance, ‘Some Kind Of Wonderful’ depicts the segment of the story where King is pregnant and ‘Will you still love me tomorrow?’ mirrors King’s insecurities about Goffin’s loyalty.



Carole King, played by Molly Grace Culter was particularly strong, showcasing her unique singing voice and impressive acting ability.  Cutler was able to emotively capture her turbulent relationship with Gerry Goffin, played by Tom Milner, who was equally as brilliant at portraying his troubled yet driven character.  Casting actors who are also musicians made for a very interesting watch as they moved seamlessly from dialogue to song.  This was evident with Seren Sandham-Davies as Cynthia as we watched her belt out melodies on the trumpet.  Jos Slovick brought wonderful humour to the production as Barry, and the development of his characters trait of hypochondria invited many jokes and laughs.  The production was complemented by a large ensemble who played the likes of The Drifters and The Righteous Brothers, bringing both the King – Goffin and Weil - Mann music to life and transporting us back to the 60s and 70s.  Special mention should go to Dan de Cruz, whose expert on-stage musical direction, gave the performers the cohesiveness of an orchestra whilst still keeping the performance light and free.



Whilst the stage set was fairly minimalist, the orange circular lights mimicking records and the ‘beautiful’ sign with neon lights created an eye capturing backdrop for the opening and closing scenes.  This was all framed by a mosaic arch, housing the writing and recording studios.   Add in spectacular costumes from Edd Lindley and the vibe is complete.  Who doesn’t love a full on glitter jacket, fur trimmed dresses and spectacular suits with flares wider than the smiles of the audience?  And if that isn’t enough – throw in some roller skates, sing, perform, and prove that this cast can do it all!



Not only did King storm the music industry with her talent but she did it on her own terms, and it is unbelievable to see the turbulence this strength caused in a dog-eat-dog music industry.  It makes you love and respect King on a much deeper level.  This musical is a must-see production, allowing the audience to reminisce about well-known hits, sung brilliantly by the company, and become captivated by King’s huge success story.  As many juke box musicals, it finishes with a concert style ending, brilliantly inviting the audience to join in, sing their hearts out and leave the theatre high on the joy that King’s impressive back catalogue provides.  There are ups and downs along the path of any fantastic songwriter, and whilst a musical is unable to capture all of them due to obvious time restraints, they still project the message that she had a lot of life to write about and produce timeless songs that will live on in our hearts forever.




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