By Joe Contreras, Latin Life Denver Media, Photos courtesy Denver Center for Performing Arts
Hot on the heels of ‘On Your Feet’ the Carole King Musical ‘Beautiful’ comes to Denver with just as much energy, fun, great music and heartfelt drama. Kudos to The Denver Center for The Performing Arts Center for continuing to bring quality Broadway theater to Denver.
When I first saw this production a year ago I wondered how exciting could a play about the life of Carole King possible be? I ended up enjoying it so much I saw it again at the Smith Performing Arts Center in Las Vegas and now again here in Denver.
The play turned out to be so much more than I expected. It literally sang to my heart and soul. It moved my spirit. I was amazed at the variety of songs she had written for so many other musicians. But what was even more moving with the story of her relationship with her former husband that brought her so much joy and pain and was the inspiration for several of her songs; “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow, “So Far Away” and others.
It was a play the very private and humble Carole King did not want to have done. But after much begging and convincing by producers she relented with the promise that if she did not like the show they would kill it and leave it and her alone. At the debut of the production of Beautiful, she walked out of the theater…It was too much for her take, seeing the story of her failed marriage acted out on stage was devastating and brought back too many memories and too much pain. But she also saw how much the audience enjoyed the play and so decided to let the show go forward.
Many of the songs segway from her working on them at the piano to live performances from look alike performers like Neil Sedaka, The Shirelles, The Rightous Brothers, The Drifters and others. The sold out audience at opening night gave the performers an immediate rousing standing ovation even before the first group of performers came out to take their bows.
Beautiful — The Carole King Musical tells the inspiring true story of King’s remarkable rise to stardom, from being part of a hit songwriting team with her husband Gerry Goffin, to her relationship with fellow writers and best friends Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann, to becoming one of the most successful solo acts in popular music history. Along the way, she made more than beautiful music, she wrote the soundtrack to a generation.
Featuring a stunning array of beloved songs written by Gerry Goffin/Carole King and Barry Mann/Cynthia Weil, including “I Feel The Earth Move,” “One Fine Day,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” “You’ve Got A Friend” and the title song, Beautiful has a book by and Tony Award-nominee and Academy Award-nominated writer Douglas McGrath, direction by Marc Bruni, choreography by Josh Prince and took home two 2014 Tony Awards.
Beautiful-The Carolel King Musical plays the Buell Theater now through September 9th. For tickets call 303-893-4100 or visit: DenverCenter.org