The Carole King Musical in the UK? – by Alex Woody

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Photo credit: Nederlander Theaters UK

Beautiful is a musical about the life of Carole King from the time of selling her first song at 16 to her post-Grammy winning Carnegie Hall concert. The musical uses music King wrote alongside her ex-husband, as well as many competitive hits from that time period. Songs like ‘The Locomotion’ ‘I Feel the Earth Move’ and ‘It’s Too Late’ are all present.

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Photo credit: Joan Marcus

What was interesting about seeing this play last night was the fact it was on West End to begin with. While the musical has been met with a great success on Broadway, recouping its initial investment, it has only had mild success in the UK. The musical is phenomenal, which amazing performances from all cast members (two of whom went on to win the Oliver award, the British equivalent Tony). Personally, I grew up listening to a lot of the music played in the show, but I do not know if this is music that transferred over well in the UK. The audience held an older demographic, much of whom only seemed to know certain songs which were hits in the UK because they were covered by other artists, such as The Locomotion being covered by Kylie Minogue.

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Photo credit: Tony Awards

While the play itself might not work well with UK audiences, I still think it’s a phenomenal show with a strong book that weaves the songs in perfectly. The performances were so good, it actually received a standing ovation, something I have yet to see in a West End show since Imelda Staunton in Gypsy.

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