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The final production in the series of touring Broadway shows, “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical,” opened at Orlando’s Dr. Phillips Center last night.
As the title suggests, the musical traces the life of Carole King through to meeting and marrying her co-collaborator Gerry Goffin. When King became pregnant, they married in August 1959 when he was 20 and she was 17. The couple then proceeded to write numerous chart topping hits together during the course of their marriage.
John Lennon and Paul McCartney once said they wanted to be songwriters like King and Goffin, as both clocked up over 100 hits on the Billboard hot 100 . It wasn’t hard to see why they paid that kind of tribute after taking in this 2 hour 20 minute production down memory lane that included the hits “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” “The Loco-Motion,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” and the title of the show, “Beautiful.”
Abby Mueller put in a superb performance as King with a strong-voice and the perfect girl-next-door vibe while understudy Andrew Brewer played Goffin in equal measure. (Liam Tobin will play the role the rest of the Orlando run.)
Working alongside the King-Goffin team during the dawn of “Rock n Roll” in the 1960’s at New York’s 1650 Broadway, was another hit-making duo: Cynthia Weil (Becky Gulsvig) and Barry Mann (Ben Fankhauser) – who wrote over 40 well known hits together including “He’s Sure the Boy I Love,” “On Broadway,” “We Gotta Get Out of This Place” and “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’.”
The couples competed for top position on the pop chart, but the rivals also became close friends. In the stage version of their lives, King and Goffin’s story is told a little more seriously while Weil and Mann provide many of the shows lighter and cute moments.
One of the other highlights of the show was the high-tech set design that used some great sets and superb lighting to maximum effect, especially during the first act when familiar hits were given mini-concert like treatment as hits like “Some Kind of Wonderful,” “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling,” and “On Broadway,” were belted out by a talented range of vocalists portraying The Drifters, The Shirelles and various other singers who brought King’s songs to life.
It’s a great show and you really must go.
• Where: Dr. Phillips Center, 445 S. Magnolia Ave., Orlando
• When: 8 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, May 3-6; 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, May 7; 1 and 6:30 p.m. Sunday, May 8
• Cost: $38.75 and up
• Call: 844-513-2014
• Online: DrPhillipsCenter.org