WINDY CITY TIMES
||THEATER REVIEW Beautiful, The Carole King Musical
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Jonathan Abarbanel, Windy City Times
This article shared 1656 times since Sun Dec 17, 2017
Playwright: Douglas McGrath ( book ); Jerry Goffin, Carole King, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil ( words & music )
At: Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 W. Randolph St. Tickets: 800-775-2000; BroadwayInChicago.com; $30-$115. Runs through: Jan. 28
The Oriental Theatre is packing in the teenie and tweenie females for Wicked, but it's their grandmothers who are whoopin' and hollerin' two blocks away at the Cadillac Palace with the return of Beautiful, The Carole King Musical, a biography of the artist who has spent an astonishing 60 years in pop music. The audience base for Beautiful clearly has followed King for a lifetime, quite literally.
King's music is far from new, but it remains remarkably fresh, appealing and insouciant. In part, it's because King and her early writing partner, Jerry Goffin, wrote excellent songs with smart lyrics ( mostly Goffin's ) and clever tunes ( King's ) with a hook and sometimes unexpected modulations. Book writer Douglas McGrath has woven a storyKing's biographyin which the songs fit more tightly and appropriately than in most any other jukebox musical. As pleasingly familiar as they are, the songs seem to have been written for the specific characters and situations. Beautiful also celebrates rock's pre-Motown era when white producers and songwriters worked closely with early Black crossover artists, many of whom are portrayed in musical cameos. The show knowingly creates nostalgia for that seemingly-more-innocent period in pop culture.
King ( Sarah Bockel ) started early and fast: she was in college and a published songwriter at 16, pregnant and married by 18. Goffin, her golden writing partner, also was her husband for 10 years although he strayed and had substance abuse issues. Beautiful presents King as a trend-setting song stylist with very middle-class, frequently naive ideas about marriage and familyunable to see how Goffin felt personally and creatively confined.
With their break-up, King quite literally found her own voice as a performer and also broke free of her own creative limits. The moment when wise Jewish mama Klein ( the real family name ) tells Carole that she doesn't need a man for validation is the moment the audience shouts and claps its approval. Yeah, it's a woman's story, so I guess it does belong on the same street as Wicked.
It can't be coincidence that the show once again stars someone with Chicago street cred. ( We breed grit as well as talent here. ) Bockel doesn't make Beautiful quite as exciting as the first time around, with Chicago-bred Abbey Mueller ( from a well-known clan of actors ) in the lead, but it's not because Bockel lacks voice or ability; it's the absence of surprise in the show's straight-forward narrative. First-time viewers won't have that issue. Bockels supporting team is solid and charming down the line: hunky Brewer as Goffin, Sarah Goeke and Jacob Heimer as best buds ( and competing song-writers ) Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann, James Clow as producer Don Kirshner and Suzanne Grodner as mama Genie Klein.
This article shared 1656 times since Sun Dec 17, 2017
| ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE|
|THEATER Nelson Rodriguez talks boxing, queerness and his very personal play 2023-12-03|
- On Saturday, Dec. 9 at the Chicago Cultural Center, there will be a reading of New Personalidada play by actor, playwright and former Windy City Times 30 Under 30 honoree Nelson Rodriguez. The program, part of ...
|SHOWBIZ 'Bodyshop,' Beyonce, Ani DiFranco, Billie Jean King 2023-12-01|
- The Breaking Glass Pictures film Bodyshop will be out on digital on Dec. 5, per a press release. The plot is described thusly: "The ghost of a young soldier sexually assaulted by his lieutenant says goodbye ...
|PERFORMANCE Teatro Zinzanni's Carisa Hendrix talks magic, queerness and Canada 2023-11-28|
- One could call Teatro Zinzanni's newest production, "Love, Chaos, and Dinner," a meal and a showâ€”but that would definitely shortchange this ongoing extravaganza. Taking place at the Loop's Cambria Hotel, there is not a bad seat ...
|'Sleeping with Beauty' serves up naughty holiday laughs 2023-11-27|
- Seasonal British pantomimes have been securing the talents of such known performers as Henry Winkler, George Takei and Sir Ian McKellen for decades now. This inventive recounting of fairy tales, utilizing popular song, comedy and rowdy ...
|Jerry Mitchell bops into Boop! 2023-11-27|
- Director and choreographer Jerry Mitchell is bringing black-and-white Boop! The Betty Boop Musical into a world of color at the CIBC Theatre this winter. It's a pre-Broadway world premiere for the musical starring Jasmine Amy Rogers ...
|Hell in a Handbag to present 'Peep Show: The Handbag 2023 Benefit'on Dec. 10 2023-11-25|
--From a press release - CHICAGOHell in a Handbag Productions will present its 2023 benefit: Peep Showa peep through the curtains at the company's 2024 seasonon Sunday, Dec. 10, 11:30 a.m. — 3:30 p.m. at The Center on Halsted's The Hoover-Leppen ...
|Sarah Siddons to produce 'Noor Inayat Khan: The Forgotten Spy' 2023-11-22|
- In a first for the 71-year-old Sarah Siddons Society, it will produce a one-night performance of Noor Inayat Khan: The Forgotten Spyâ€”a new one-woman play written and performed by Almanya Narula, a 2016 Siddons Scholarship recipient ...
|YEPP 'rises' to occasion at fall fundraiser 2023-11-20|
- Members and guests of Youth Empowerment Performance Project (YEPP) gathered Nov. 17 at Chicago Theater Works, 1113 W. Belmont Ave., for the organization's fall fundraiser, Rise Up: Our Celebration of Resistance. The evening marked both the ...
|WORLD Latvia, nonbinary magistrate, Gay Games end, Israel soldiers 2023-11-17|
- Latvia's parliament voted to allow same-sex couples to establish civil unions, Reuters reported. Said couples now have legal recognitionbut fewer rights than married couples. The new legislation, slated to take effect in the middle of next ...
|THEATER Queer actor Chloe Baldwin talks 'POTUS,' identity and Shakespeare 2023-11-15|
- In the Steppenwolf farce POTUS: Or, Behind Every Great Dumbass Are Seven Women Trying to Keep Him Alive, queer actor Chloe Baldwin portrays the president's mistress Dusty, acting alongside a formidable group that includes Caroline Neff ...
|'Jersey Boys' stars reunite as Midtown Men on Dec. 2 in Glen Ellyn 2023-11-14|
- The original stars of the Broadway hit Jersey BoysChristian Hoff, Michael Longoria, Daniel Reichard and J. Robert Spencerwill reunite as Midtown Men on Saturday, Dec. 2, at 7:30 p.m. at McAninch Arts Center's Belushi Performance Hall ...
|Hell in a Handbag Productions presents world premiere of The Golden Girls Save Xmas, A Lost Episodes Parody 2023-11-12|
--From a press release - CHICAGO (November 10, 2023) — Hell in a Handbag Productions is pleased to kick off its 2023/24 season this November with The Golden Girls Save Xmas — A Lost Episodes Parody, featuring an all-new holiday tale ...
|SHOWBIZ Kaytranada, NFL star, Alexandra Billings, video game, George Michael 2023-11-10|
- Out Montreal DJ/producer Kaytranada teased his latest single, "Out of Luck," with Mariah the Scientist, on Twitter, Complex noted. "THIS IS THE ANTHEM!" Kaytra wrote in his quote-tweet of the song playing at a release party. ...
|Charles Busch dishes on life as a storyteller 2023-11-09|
- Performer/writer Charles Busch, who recently penned his autobiography, Leading Lady: A Memoir of a Most Unusual Boy, said that collecting his most precious and salient memories in a book felt "inevitable." "Storytelling is such an essential ...
|Black Excellence Awards winners named, inaugural Chicago Black Arts Hall of Fame inductees honored 2023-11-08|
--From a press release - CHICAGO (Nov. 7, 2023)â€”The nonprofit Black Arts & Culture Alliance of Chicago is proud to announce the winners of its 23rd Annual Black Excellence Awards, honored last night in a festive celebration at Black Ensemble Theater. ...