Friday December 15th 2017


Some shows can come back year after year and still wow an audience. “Beautiful” The Carole King Musical about her early life and her career, is one of these pieces. With a book by Douglas McGrath and music and words by Gerry Goffin and Carole King along with others by Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil, this is a heartwarming story of the ups and downs in the lives of these composers. Chicago audiences were thrilled last year to have Carole King be played by local star Abby Mueller, whose sister , Jessie won the Tony for the original role on Broadway, so needless to say, we went into the theater anticipating something less than before. Sarah Bockel was placed in a tough position heading into the Cadillac Palace Theatre, but after the first two scenes, the audience found themselves falling deeply in love with her and she became the incredible Carole King (formerly  Carol Klein) right before our eyes.

This cast is a little different from the original touring company in numbers, but what it lacks in quantity, it makes up for in pure talent. The ensemble players, who are asked to change wigs, costumes and characters” on a dime” are a strongly talented group. King’s partner, lover, husband,ex-husband Gerry is played by Andrew Brewer and their boss, Don Kirshner is deftly handled by James Clow. Their best friends who are also their greatest competition are played by the incredible Sarah Goeke (as  Cynthia Weill) and the adorable  Jacob Heimer (as Barry Mann ). Their love story could be a musical on its own. Carol’s mother Genie is played to perfection by Suzanne Grodner, who is the Jewish Mother  we all grew up with ( even the Gentiles in the audience can relate!).

Back to the Ensemble, because no matter how great the rest of the cast is, without their strength this show cannot work.  John Michael Dias (who handles Neil Sedaka, Lou Adler, one of the Righteous Brothers),  Matt Faucher (handling the other Righteous Brother, Nick,  and others), The Shirelles (McKynleigh Alden Abraham,  Traci Elaine Lee, Marla Louissaint and Alexis Tidwell, who also take on other roles), the Drifters (Josh A. Dawson, Jay McKenzie, Avery Smith and Kristopher Stanley Ward, who truly rock and do the stylized choreography just the way I remember it from the 60’s). These young talents also take on other roles that make this show work. It seems as if the cast is much larger due to these people. They are terrific.

Being a touring company, but here for a longer period, they have sets closer to the original (Derek McLane) and the lightning ( Peter Kaczorowski) is pretty much identical to the original as is the sound ( Brian Ronan) and the direction by Marc Bruni and Choreography by Josh Prince is pretty close to the original as well. The costumes (Alejo Vietti) are very stylish and look closely at some that are made to convert from one dress to another in the “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” number. Let’s face it, young or old, the music in this show is pretty well- known and adored. Songs such as “It Might As Well Rain Until September”, “Take Good Care Of My Baby”, the afore mentioned “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow”, “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling”, “One Fine Day”, “The Locomotion” “We Gotta Get Out Of This Place”, “Uptown”, “You’ve Got A Friend”, “Natural Woman” and of course “Beautiful” are enough to make one want to buy a ticket to see this wonderful biography. In fact, buy two performances so you can truly absorb the beauty of what you will see and hear!

“Beautiful will continue at the Cadillac Palace Theatre located at 151 West Randolph Street as part of the Broadway In Chicago series through January 28th with performances as follows:

Tuesdays  7:30 p.m.

Wednesdays  2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Thursdays  7:30 p.m.

Fridays  7:30 p.m.

Saturdays  2 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Sundays  2 p.m.

additional evening performance this Sunday at 7:30 p.m.

Running time 2 hours-thirty-minutes including a 15 minute intermission.

Tickets are priced at  $30- $115 and can be purchased at any of the Broadway In Chicago box offices, by calling the Broadway Ticketline at 1-800-775-2000 or online at

To see what others are saying, visit, go to Review Round-Up and click “Beautiful” The Carole King Musical.

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