Beautifully, the Carole King Musical weaves a history of the American songbook

When many people think of Carole King, the acclaimed album tapestry comes to mind immediately. Whether it’s the “I Feel the Earth Move” or the feeling of being “So Far Away,” King’s combination of enchanting melodies and unforgettable lyrics have weaved into a musical story that will last for generations. In Beautiful, the Carole King Musical, their story is not just an album that has stood the test of time. Instead, it celebrates a woman who influenced the American songbook.

As part of a national tour recently held at the Dr. Phillips Center stopped in Orlando Beautiful, the Carole King Musical, examines how King transitioned to allowing others to sing her story and taking the spotlight on stage. As with many jukebox musicals, the songs are familiar and get the audience tapping their feet to the beat.

While some people will appreciate that King has featured on some of the most famous songs over the years, others might be surprised to hear renditions of “One Fine Day,” “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” and “You’ve Lost That.” Lovin’ ‘feeling.’

Although the music propels the king’s journey, her story is equally about becoming a strong woman. Aside from the lyrics of A Natural Woman, there is a story about woman empowerment that shouldn’t be missing from this story.

In particular, Sara Shepperd, who plays Carole King, carefully portrays that growth through her performance. As seen in Act I, her singing is more reserved, much in the way King had less confidence in her own abilities. Over time, Shepperd takes command of the stage. Your voice will not be overshadowed by others.

While it’s a subtle performance at times, the arc lets the audience connect with King’s journey. From the wife and mother standing in the shadow of a man who is never satisfied, to the woman taking charge of her own destiny, this message is one that many people appreciate. What’s more, it got some people thinking about these songs from the American songbook in a different light.

Beautiful musical by Carole King

Nice the Musical National Tour, Photo provided by Dr. Phillips Center/National Tour photo

Looking back at the well-known songs prompts people to reflect on how life unfolded. Today, women take center stage and are the main protagonists of the brand. It might be time to better understand that it wasn’t always like this. Unless some women are paving the way, the view could be very different.

Since Beautiful is a jukebox musical, the mix of well-known music seems to fit well with the plot. Regardless of whether another spectator might sing along, it’s an immersive experience for theater audiences. By giving people the familiar with the story behind some songs, it makes the classic songs seem new again.

As in the schedule of the Dr. Phillips Center 2021-22, the well-known stories, the musical The Temptations, Tootsie and even The Prom are reawakening audiences to rejoin the live theater community. It is this feel-good moment that many want to celebrate again and again.

While the Tony Awards aim to celebrate the newest batch of American theater kings, the mix of original songs and well-known songs keeps the theater community connected to a wider audience. While the theater geek might crave that twist like Hadestown or a subtle story like A Band’s Visit, others want Tina the musical or Michael repeating the songs played on stage.

For now, Beautiful, the Carole King Musical comes to a theater in the USA. As the songs fill the theater, take a moment to reflect on how melody has made life a little more intriguing, graceful, and sumptuous. Sometimes the best moments in life are not as far away as they seem.

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