22 February 2018

Beautiful opens tonight

Beautiful: The Carole King Musical
Michael Cassell in association with Paul Blake & Sony/ATV Music Publishing & Mike Bosner
20 February 2018
Her Majesty's Theatre

The Sydney cast of Beautiful. Photo by Ben Symon

Beautiful is the bio jukebox musical about the early career of singer/songwriter Carole King, who wrote so many American pop songs from the 1960s (and '70s, '80s and' 90s) that there could be endless Broadway musicals about her music. The show opened on Broadway in 2014, in London in 2015 and in Sydney in 2017.

I saw a preview, with understudy. Previews get wobbles out of shows and, even though they are as good as any other performance, aren't for reviewing.

But I look forward to reading the reviews from tonight's opening because this one is a joy.

We've seen enough under-written, under-developed bio musicals that don't respect their audience or the artists they are celebrating. Beautiful has found the sweet spot where nostalgia, story and character are balanced.

The music sounds like the 1960s but has been given a twist of now; as has the choreography and the design. The cast are a consistent delight who all bring bits of themselves to the people they are playing, and the story has enough fact and imagination to create characters who are loved, vulnerable and understood.

And if you love Carole King's music, there's no choice but to go; if you're not sure about her, you'll be devoted fan before interval.

PS. Never forget that understudies are usually as amazing as the performer they are covering.

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