Theater: ‘Carole King’ is uncomplicated, but still ‘Beautiful’

Beautiful the Carole King Musical
Witness the journey of this incredible rising star. Jessie Mueller plays Carole King.
Credit: Joan Marcus

Would that life were as simple as it seems in “Beautiful, The Carole King Musical,” at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre. But, hey, we’re talking about a jukebox musical. If you’re looking for complexity, you’re in the wrong genre. But if you’re looking for an exhilarating earful – and eyeful – of dazzlingly presented music from Ms. King’s impressive oeuvre, buckle your seatbelts and enjoy the ride.

“Beautiful” follows King (a fantastic Jessie Mueller) in her evolution from teenage songwriter to mature performing artist. The story: Brooklyn girl sells songs to impresario (Don Kirshner, played by Jeb Brown), marries her lyricist (Jake Epstein as Gerry Goffin) and produces a string of hits. They befriend Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil (Jarrod Spector and Anika Larsen), another songwriting couple. The marriage goes well for a while, then sours, but King’s career soars when she starts performing her own material.

Director Marc Bruni cleverly showcases the Motown-era hits from the King-Goffin and Mann-Weill catalogs. Some are sung by the writers, some by the singers who performed them, some by a combination of both. Dressed to the nines, groups like the Shirelles and the Drifters contrast beautifully with the plain-clothed King and company. Derek McLane’s bi-level set is a knockout that Bruni uses to create a whirlwind of activity that never seems chaotic.

And then there’s the music, in all its glorious variety. Whether it’s King-sung standards like “So Far Away” and “It’s Too Late” or her earlier work (who knew that the same person was responsible for “Pleasant Valley Sunday” and “The Locomotion”?) it takes enormous willpower not to sing along. No worries — the songs will linger in your mind long after the curtain goes down.

 

“Beautiful, The Carole King Musical”
Open-ended run
Stephen Sondheim Theatre,
124 W. 43rd St.
$75-$152,
www.beautifulonbroadway.com



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Girl, 10, dies after being pulled from water…

A 10-year-old girl died after being pulled from the waters off Coney Island Beach in Brooklyn on Tuesday night, police said.

News

NY judge throws out lawsuit by Empire State…

A New York state judge has thrown out a lawsuit in which longtime investors in the Empire State Building claimed they were shortchanged out of hundreds of millions of dollars…

Local

Mysterious white flags appear over Brooklyn Bridge

Two white flags mysteriously appeared over the towers of the Brooklyn Bridge yesterday in place of the American flags that are a traditional fixture.

National

Judge sets January start for murder trial of…

By Elizabeth BarberBOSTON (Reuters) - Former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez will be tried in January for the murder of semi-professional football player Odin…

Television

'Pretty Little Liars' recap: Season 5, Episode 7,…

Drunk girls and ghost brownies: here’s your weekly ‘Pretty Little Liars’ recap by way of Q&A. Q: do they really not check for feet under…

Arts

Don't miss 'Charles James: Beyond Fashion' at the…

Have you been meaning to see "Charles James: Beyond Fashion"? There are only two weeks left to get to the Met and catch this amazing American fashion designer's collection.

Television

Zac Posen talks 'Project Runway' and what it…

We talked to Zac Posen, judge and designer extraordinaire, about the new season of "Project Runway" and what keeps him coming back after three seasons.

Television

'Face Off' contestant David 'DOC' O'Connell sounds off…

David "DOC" O'Connell tells us about getting cast on Season 7 of Syfy's "Face Off," premiering tonight at 9.

NFL

David Tyree hiring has gay rights advocates angry

Former Giants Super Bowl hero David Tyree will re-join the franchise as its new director of player development.

NFL

Ben McAdoo's new offense has Giants excited to…

Even Tom Coughlin feels he has a lot to learn about offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo’s new offense, which makes the veteran coach very excited.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead…

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead pack

NFL

2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will…

2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will win Super Bowl?

Tech

Learn Braille with these gloves

U.S. scientists have designed high-tech gloves to help users understand Braille in a matter of minutes.

Home

5 New Ikea products that will change your…

We round-up the latest must-have products.

Food

Recipe: Wolfgang Puck's Buttermilk French Toast

We recently spent some time chatting with restauranteur/celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck at his Wolfgang Puck American Grille in the Borgata in Atlantic City. Puck wanted…

Style

Go retro with your sneakers

The best of wacky new sneakers.