Beautiful: The Carole King Musical Review

By Alexandra Chang, Managing Editor/Culture Editor

“Beautiful: The Carole King Musical,” tells the story of Carole King, a once timid girl from Brooklyn, New York, who over time gains confidence and comes into her own, becoming one of the most celebrated singer-songwriters in American music history. Chilina Kennedy excellently portrays King in the musical, and despite the fact that she often faces the challenge of being compared to such an incredible American icon, she gives a fantastic, enjoyable performance.

Throughout her illustrious career, Carole King has written or co-written over 24 hits for various artists and bands, many of which received critical acclaim at the time and are still are highly renowned today. Some of King’s most widely known songs she has written include “The Loco-Motion,” “Take Good Care of my Baby,” “Natural Woman,” as well as the “Gilmore Girls” theme song, “Where You Lead.”

The cast brilliantly performs many of King’s most notable works and the costumes for each song were eye-catching and associated with the decade of the time. In a funny, heartwarming manner, “Beautiful” displays King’s personal struggles, as well as professional ones, for she was strictly a songwriter along with her then-husband, Gerry Goffin, until their marriage ended in the 1960s.

The musical mirrors her career, for the actress portraying her does not sing many solo performances until the very end of the musical. It was not until the year of 1970 when Carole King emerged as an incredibly talented and wildly successful singer-songwriter.

Her 1971 album, “Tapestry,” won four of the most prestigious Grammy Awards: Album of the Year, Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, Song of the Year and Record of the Year. Although Kennedy provides the audience with a great performance, Anika Larsen, who portrays fellow American songwriter, Cynthia Weil, ultimately captures the audience’s attention for her wit, outstanding voice, and fantastic performance of an ambitious woman  in the 1960s.

Ben Jacoby gives a wonderful performance of portraying Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil’s future husband and writing partner. Jacoby and Larsen have excellent chemistry together on stage, and it is clear to the audience that they really enjoy their characters.

In fact, Anika Larsen said, “She [Cynthia] is sassy, chic, tenacious, ingenious, and wildly successful in a man’s world. I want to be her when I grow up, but I’ll settle for being her eight times a week,” referring to the musical’s daily (and sometimes twice-daily) performances.

Overall, “Beautiful” is a timeless, fun, feel-good story that will leave the audience in a good mood, probably humming one Carole King’s songs, whether it may be “The Loco-Motion” or “Natural Woman.”

  • Story
  • Acting
  • Technical Quality
  • Enjoyment