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Thursday, 30 January 2020

Preview: Beautiful – The Carole King Musical at Sunderland Empire


Carole King Speaks Ahead Of Beautiful Arriving In Sunderland

Beautiful – The Carole King Musical
Sunderland Empire
Tuesday 17– Saturday 21 March 2020
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Telling the story of one of the most successful songwriters of all time, the Tony, Olivier and Grammy award-winning musical Beautiful: The Carole King Musical arrives at Sunderland Empire Tuesday 17 - Saturday 21 March as part of a UK Tour following a successful two and a half year run in London’s West End and a sell-out tour in 2017/18.

Carole King
King’s now iconic 1971 album ‘Tapestry’ was released when she was just 29-years old, and yet by this time she already had a string of over 100 chart hits written with Gerry Goffin, her former husband and song writing partner in the 1960s, including ‘The Loco-Motion’ and ‘Will You Love Me Tomorrow’. Beautiful: The Carole King Musical offers audiences the chance to peek inside Carole King’s early life and the writing process of this now legendary duo alongside their fellow songwriters Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann.

Speaking about the show, and how it feels to witness your life story being told on stage, six-time Grammy Award winner King describes the process saying, “I was actually there for an early reading of the show and it reached a climactic and emotional moment within my life. At that moment I really began to realise that yes, this show was going to be great, however I knew I couldn’t stay for the second half of the reading!” Despite the show telling the story of Carole’s early years from teenage sensation to solo performer of iconic status, she didn’t actually see the show until several months in, “I wasn’t sure I wanted to see it initially, as it is my own past!”, but having heard from friends and family how much they loved the production she eventually ventured into the theatre. “Gerry and my daughter, Sherry, said to me ‘Mom you’ve just gotta go see it’ so I did, and I was blown away.”

So why has Beautiful: The Carole King Musical proven so popular and resonated with audiences of all ages some 60 years since many of these songs were originally released, and nearly 50 years after ‘Tapesty’? “Well, I suppose it’s because to many people the music you hear in the show was the soundtrack of their generation” explains Carole, “but then those people have since played these tracks to their children and grandchildren and so new generations are enjoying a sense of ownership over these songs. The show contains songs like ‘You’ve Got A Friend’ that I wrote many years ago but are still sung today, and hopefully still connect with people. The show really is a testament to the music, but the book is so good, as well as how it all comes together with the lighting, set and sound.”

Carole King is renowned for understating her remarkable success, and despite having written her first number one hit by the time she was seventeen years old, she still didn’t anticipate becoming a performer herself. “We were writing enough songs to pay our mortgage” she famously said in her 2012 autobiography, playing down the massive catalogue of hits she has written over the years. When pushed to acknowledge her immense talent, Carole says, “Looking back on my childhood I guess you could say there was an element of being a prodigy but I like to think I was given a gift with music. But I have studied hard and I like to think that I’m smart and I use my brain. I hope that comes across when people see ‘Beautiful’ on tour in the UK”.

The UK holds a special place in Carole King’s heart when it comes to Beautiful: The Carole King Musical as she was able to join the cast on their opening night. “Being at the West End premiere of the show was incredible. I didn’t attend the Broadway opening night performance, so it was particularly special to see the show in London. It’s always a bit surreal to see people you know, and people you knew, embodied so well by performers on stage but really wonderful at the same time. I love watching people come and see them forget about their cares and troubles for two hours and forty minutes,” she said. “It’s a wonderful feeling. ‘Beautiful’ is such a terrific show and I hope audiences will love it as it tours the UK in 2020 as much as they did when I sat in the auditorium in London with them then!”

Photos: Dan Wooler

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