Previewed 10 February 2015, Opened 25 February 2015, Closed: 5 August 2017 at the Aldwych Theatre in London
The smash hit Broadway musical Beautiful in London - featuring the songs of Carole King in the story that inspired the soundtrack of a generation.
The stage musical Beautiful is the story of Carole King's journey from schoolgirl to superstar including her relationship with husband and song-writing partner Gerry Goffin and their close friendship and playful rivalry with fellow song-writing duo Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil. Featuring timeless classics Will You Love Me Tomorrow; (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman; Take Good Care of My Baby; I Feel the Earth Move; Up on the Roof; The Locomotion; and It's Too Late.
The cast for Beautiful in London features Cassidy Janson as 'Carole King' with Alan Morrissey as 'Gerry Goffin', Lorna Want as 'Cynthia Weil', Ian McIntosh as 'Barry Mann', Diane Keen as 'Genie Klein' and Gary Trainor as 'Don Kirshner'. Please Note: Casting subject to change without notice. The original London cast featured Katie Brayben as 'Carole King', Alan Morrissey as 'Gerry Goffin', Lorna Want as 'Cynthia Weil', Glynis Barber as 'Genie Klein' and Gary Trainor as 'Don Kirshner'.
When this production opened here at the Aldwych Theatre in February 2015, Dominic Maxwell in the Times praised it as being "a thoroughly pleasant night at the theatre," adding that it is a "terrifically tuneful show" and that "Marc Bruni's production is slick, beautifully played." Henry Hitchings in the London Evening Standard described it as being an "affectionate jukebox musical," explaining that "Marc Bruni's staging is slick and witty, Douglas McGrath's book nicely highlights the industrial efficiency of the music business, and Derek McLane's sets reinforce the impression of a world in which musicians are treated as soulless hirelings." Michael Billington in the Guardian highlighted how "it's good to hear some of the old songs again and to be reminded of groups like the Righteous Brothers and the Shirelles. But the attempt to link the songs to the life feels strained... the show lacks the drama that some of us still hunger for in a musical." Quentin Letts for the Daily Mail commented that, "its Americanised, air-brushy niceness aside, this show is sweet and happy as pie. It milks the tear ducts, gives you a long list of searing songs and will send many a couple home arm-in-arm to the very suburbs Carole King adored." Paul Taylor in the Independent said that, as Carole King, Katie Brayben "gives a wonderfully endearing performance that seems to soar beyond mere impersonation as it communicates King's warmth, modesty, self-deprecating humour, and touching integrity and projects the straight-from-the-heart candour of that nasal, husky, plaintively yearning singing voice." Dominic Cavendish in the Daily Telegraph thought it is a "stylishly presented, efficiently crafted account of how Carole King went from being one half of a romantic and productive song-writing partnership with Gerry Goffin to a sensation in her own right after they split, releasing the best-selling, breakthrough solo album Tapestry in 1971." Ian Shuttleworth in the Financial Times noted that "the woman-finding-her-own-voice theme, hardly original in itself, is given a marshmallow, fluffy-sentimental treatment. I did feel the earth move under my feet, but I'm pretty sure it was just the Piccadilly Line running below." Neil Norman in the Daily Express held that "McGrath's rather thin book, though, tends to telegraph significant moments as if for the hearing impaired. As Carole, Katie Brayben adds spice to the show's blancmange, delivering songs without facile impersonation and authentically conveying the dichotomy at the heart of King's personality: that inside the genius was a conventional suburban housewife struggling to get out."
Directed by Marc Bruni with choreography by Josh Prince, sets by Derek Mclane, costumes by Alejo Vietti, lighting by Peter Kaczorowski and sound by Brian Ronan. Written and adapted for the stage by Douglas McGrath with songs by Carole King, Gerry Goffin, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil. The Broadway production of Beautiful continues to play at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre in New York where it opened on 12 January 2014.
"The legendary Carole King churned out songs as easily as breathing, and Beautiful bounces through the golden oldies as all the best jukebox bio-musicals do. It begins conventionally enough, with Carole on the stage of Carnegie Hall in 1971, saying: 'I never meant to be a singer!' Aged 29, having made the whole world sing, King finally finds her own voice. Then it winds back to how it all began... While stopping short of soul-searching, you get way more than some kind of wonderful in this unashamedly and deliciously corny, cheesy, schmaltzy show... Yes, I felt 'the earth move under my feet'. Jukebox heaven." The Mail on Sunday
"Douglas McGrath's Beautiful, based on Carole King's songs and her personal and professional partnership with Gerry Goffen, is equally charming and enjoyable. It might almost have been entitled Brooklyn Girl, given that both its genesis and style owe a considerable debt to Jersey Boys. Marc Bruni's slick production skilfully blends the writing of standards such as Up On The Roof, Will You Love Me Tomorrow and Pleasant Valley Sunday, with glitzy production numbers. Katie Brayben as Carole heads an electrifying cast." The Sunday Express
"While Douglas McGrath's book is never going to win a Pulitzer prize, it does at least tell an unfamiliar story - of the young Carole King's life before the international success of Tapestry - as well as describing the 1960s world of music publishing in which she worked... As King, Katie Brayben has much to live up to, and she breezily captures the singer's combination of cheerful determination and initial shyness, as well as charting her growing confidence as a performer... Marc Bruni's production keeps the party going, and by the time she is singing (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman in Carnegie Hall on her own, an amiable musical finally acquires a real emotional punch." The Sunday Times
Beautiful - The Carole King Musical in London at the Aldwych Theatre previewed from 10 February 2015, opened on 25 February 2015 and closed on 5 August 2017.