Ticket Type: Balcony Viewing Angle: Reasonably far back stage-left – could still see everything. Price: $110 from the box office Location: Stephen Sondheim Theatre
Beautiful is a musical based on Carole King’s life and experiences in the music industry. This musical uses King’s music to aid the story telling and I deliberately refrain from using the term “Jukebox Musical” because in this situation (much like Jersey Boys) a term like that would only prove to be derogatory to one of the best productions I have seen.
At first I thought I was only familiar with a few of King’s music, but it turns out that she is responsible for some huge hits such as “Will you still Love Me Tomorrow” & “One Fine Day”. Each song is seamlessly worked into the story without any jarring transitions or scene changes. In fact, when I heard the songs that I was familiar with, it was like I was hearing the lyrics for the first time! It was amazing how the story actually aided the meaning of the songs and not the other way around.
The performances were so captivating and a lot that may be to do with the fact that some of the individual scenes are the most intense in musical theatre and give an opportunity for the performers to show their craft. Aside from Jessie Mueler’s (Carole King) voice being spot on, her relationship with Jake Epstein (Gerry Goffin) comes across as so natural, so when it faces obstacles some scenes are almost uncomfortable to watch.
Beautiful is a well-written bio, which successfully creates empathy for its protagonist without patronising its audience. Every performance is strong and every voice is a pleasure to hear, it’s no wonder that every show appears to be selling out. Beautiful really is the best title for this show.