Where were you when you first heard the song, “You’ve Got a Friend?” Carole King’s music embroiders the tapestry of our lives and you relive many a memory at Beautiful: The Carole King Musical. Like Jersey Boys and Motown: The Musical, this biographical musical gives the public a glimpse into the music and love life of Ms. King. Following her romance, marriage and 60’s songwriting career with her partner, Gerry Goffin, we see her rise to fame and the demise of her marriage.
As their star rises, King and Goffin’s marriage starts to disintegrate. Carole wants a home, the suburbs and a family; Goffin wants the 60’s lifestyle. He’s bi-polar, she’s a square. This was a relationship doomed to failure from the start, as Ms. King never really wanted a career as much as she wanted a family.
As the marriage ends, King starts writing songs for herself. The show climaxes with her breakthrough album “Tapestry,” with its feminist twist and hits like “It’s Too Late” and “You’ve Got a Friend.” The story of how she ends up on stage at the Bitter End thanks to James Taylor is also included.
The music is irresistible; the choreography by Josh Prince top notch; the performers talented; the costumes by Alejo Vietti clever and Jessie Mueller is a dead ringer for Carole King. Mueller is lovable and sounds just like King, portraying her transition from lack of confidence to a woman on her own with grace.
The audience leaves happy, musically satisfied and feeling like they got their money’s worth. This is a show that is satisfying to an audience who just wants to be entertained and relive their past and who can blame them with the world so troubled. Carole King represents a sweeter time and this show delivers just that.
Beautiful: The Carole King Musical: Stephen Sondheim Theater, 124 West 43rd Street