Beautiful: The Carole King Musical
2014 Broadway Playbill
MusicVarious Artists
LyricsVarious Artists
BookDouglas McGrath
BasisThe songs of Carole King
PremiereOctober 8, 2013 (2013-10-08): Curran Theatre, San Francisco
Productions2013 San Francisco
2014 Broadway
2015 West End
2015 U.S. Tour
2017 UK Tour
2017 Australian Tour
2020 U.K. Tour

Beautiful: The Carole King Musical is a jukebox musical with a book by Douglas McGrath that tells the story of the early life and career of Carole King, using songs that she wrote, often together with Gerry Goffin, and other contemporary songs by Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil, Phil Spector and others.

The original production of Beautiful received its world premiere at the Curran Theatre, San Francisco, in October 2013, with direction by Marc Bruni and choreography by Josh Prince, and starring Jessie Mueller in a Tony Award-winning performance as Carole King and Jake Epstein as Gerry Goffin. It made its Broadway debut at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre in January 2014. A West End production starring Katie Brayben as Carole began in February 2015. In March 2022, a new version of the production was launched for a UK tour from the Leicester Curve.


San Francisco pre-Broadway tryout (2013)

Beautiful: The Carole King Musical had a pre-Broadway try-out in San Francisco, California, at the Curran Theatre from September 24, 2013 through October 20, with an official opening October 8. The production was staged by Marc Bruni, with choreography by Josh Prince and musical direction by Jason Howland. Jessie Mueller played Carole King.[1] The musical sold out its entire run at the Curran Theatre.[2]

Original Broadway production (2014–2019)

The musical opened on Broadway at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre on January 12, 2014, after previews from November 12, 2013. In addition to Mueller as King, the cast features Jake Epstein as Gerry Goffin, Anika Larsen as Cynthia Weil and Jarrod Spector as Barry Mann.[3] King attended the April 3, 2014 performance and appeared on stage with the cast at the curtain call, singing "You've Got a Friend" together with them.[4] Carole also surprised actress and singer Melissa Benoist during her run as the titular character, praising her for her performance, and sang a reprise of "I Feel the Earth Move" with her and the audience on July 27, 2018. On the fifth anniversary of the production's opening on January 12, 2019, Carole King appeared on stage to perform the show's closing number "Beautiful" and finale alongside star Chilina Kennedy.[5] The production closed on October 27, 2019 after 60 previews and 2,418 regular performances. Upon closing, the production was the 27th longest-running musical in Broadway history.[6]

Original London production (2015–2017)

A production in London's West End opened on February 25, 2015, following previews beginning February 10, 2015, at the Aldwych Theatre.[7] On September 25, 2014, it was announced that British actress Katie Brayben would take the lead role of Carole King,[8] with further casting including Alan Morrissey as Gerry Goffin, Gary Trainor as Don Kirshner, Glynis Barber as Genie Klein, Lorna Want as Cynthia Weil and Ian McIntosh as Barry Mann.[9] Beginning November 30, 2015, Cassidy Janson took the lead role of Carole King and Diane Keen replaced Glynis Barber in the role of Genie Klein.[10] it was announced on May 23, 2017 that the London production would close August 5, 2017.[11]

U.S. Tour (2015–16)

The musical began a U.S. tour starting in September 2015 in Providence, Rhode Island, at the Providence Performing Arts Center, with engagements across the United States, ending in San Francisco in August 2016.[12] The role of Carole King was played by Abby Mueller (the sister of Jessie Mueller), with Liam Tobin as Gerry Goffin, Ben Fankhauser as Barry Mann and Becky Gulsvig as Cynthia Weil.[13]

UK Tour (2017–18)

A UK tour began September 2017 at the Alhambra Theatre in Bradford and ends at the New Theatre in Oxford in May 2018, starring former Over the Rainbow contestant Bronté Barbé as Carole King.

Australian Tour (2017–18)

An Australian tour began in Sydney on 24 September 2017 at the Lyric Theatre.[14] Esther Hannaford leads the production, playing Carole King.[15] The musical opened in Melbourne at Her Majesty's Theatre on 22 February 2018. In Brisbane, performances began at the Lyric Theatre, QPAC on Friday 13 July 2018 running through to Sunday 2 September 2018.

Second U.S. Tour (2018–2020)

A second U.S. National tour began September 4, 2018 at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House in Denver, CO. The role of Carole King is played by Sarah Bockel, with Dylan S. Wallach as Gerry Goffin, Alison Whitehurst as Cynthia Weil, and Jacob Heimer as Barry Mann.[16]

Second U.K. Tour (2020)

A second U.K tour began on January 11, 2020, at Churchill Theatre in Bromley, and was set to run until June 2020 but the tour was cut short due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Before the tour permanently closed the role of Carole King was played by Daisy Wood-Davis, with Adam Gillian as Gerry Goffin, Laura Baldwin as Cynthia Weil, and Cameron Sharp as Barry Mann.[17][18]

Third U.K Tour (2022)

A third U.K Tour opened at the Curve Theatre, Leicester on 28 February 2022. Produced by the Made at Curve, Theatre Royal Bath and Mayflower Southampton, directed by Nikolai Foster, the production is choreographed by Leah Hill, with a creative team featuring set designer Frankie Bradshaw, costume designer Edd Lindley, lighting designer and Curve associate Ben Cracknell, sound designer Tom Marshall, associate director Jennifer Lane Baker and casting director and Curve Associate Kay Magson CDG. The role of Carole King is played by Molly-Grace Cutler (The Worst Witch) with Tom Milner (Holby City) as Gerry Goffin, while Seren Sandham-Davies (Crazy For You) and Jos Slovick (Once) will play husband and wife song-writing duo Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann.[19] After its run in Leicester the show visited Bath, Brighton, Edinburgh, Southampton, Newcastle, Dartford, Malvern, Cambridge, Cardiff, Eastbourne, Birmingham, Sheffield, Glasgow, Belfast, Nottingham, Manchester, Blackpool, Peterborough, Coventry, Cheltenham and Liverpool, finishing at the New Theatre, Oxford on 26 November 2022.[20] This new version of the show received positive reviews.[21][22][23]

US Regional Theatre Premiere (2022)

Ogunquit Playhouse in Ogunquit, Maine, produced the US Regional Theatre Premiere, which played September 30, 2022 through October 30, 2022. The production starred Sarah Bockel as Carole King, Taylor Aronson as Cynthia Weil, Anthony Festa as Gerry Goffin, Suzanne Grodner as Genie Klein, Ben Jacoby as Barry Mann, and Matt Loehr as Don Kirschner. The production was directed by David Ruttura and choreographed by Joyce Chittick, recreating the original Broadway direction by Marc Bruni and choreography by Josh Prince. Nick Williams served as musical director.[24]

North Carolina Community Theatre Premiere (2023)

The Green Room Community Theatre in Newton, North Carolina, produced the North Carolina Community Theatre Premiere, which played September 1, 2023 through September 17, 2023. The production starred Carol Anne Hartman as Carole King, Holley Dagenhardt as Cynthia Weil, Corey Knighton as Gerry Goffin, Rachel Knighton as Genie Klein, Lucas DeVore as Barry Mann, and Mark Rose as Don Kirschner. The production was directed and music directed by Jeff Hartman and choreographed by Gina Duckworth. The production enjoyed multiple sold out shows.[25]


From the Beautiful: The Carole King Musical cast recording booklet

Act I

At Carnegie Hall in 1971, Carole King sings "So Far Away". Then, in Brooklyn 1958, 16-year-old Carole tells her mother, Genie, she is going into Manhattan to try to sell a song to music publisher Donnie Kirshner. In the long tradition of mothers, Genie is opposed to her daughter's wish and in the equally long tradition of teenagers not caring about their mother's opinion, Carole goes anyway. At 1650 Broadway, she hears the "1650 Broadway Medley". She then sings her new song "It Might As Well Rain Until September". Donnie says he will take it and hopes she has others. At Queens College, Carole meets a handsome young lyricist named Gerry Goffin. They agree to collaborate, musically and romantically, which in both cases turns out to be a fertile arrangement. When they go to Donnie's to play their new song, Carole confesses to Gerry that she is pregnant. Gerry asks her to marry him. It gives her an extra depth of feeling when she sings their new song for Donnie, "Some Kind of Wonderful", which The Drifters then record.

They get an office at 1650. While there, Carole meets a new lyricist Cynthia Weil ("Happy Days Are Here Again"), who is looking for a composer to work with. Gerry and Carole sing their new song "Take Good Care of My Baby", during which Barry Mann, the composer with the office next door, enters. Barry meets Cynthia and they decide to collaborate. As they begin to work, sparks fly. Donnie tells them he needs a song for the Shirelles. The couples compete for the job. In Donnie's office the next morning, Carole and Gerry present "Will You Love Me Tomorrow". Cynthia and Barry perform "He's Sure the Boy I Love". Donnie picks Carole and Gerry's song for The Shirelles and it goes to no. 1. And so, on either side of the same wall, a competition is born. The two teams turn out an amazing parade of songs: "Up on the Roof", "On Broadway", "The Loco-Motion" and "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'".

Gerry and Carole are at the taping of a TV special where their new song, "One Fine Day", is being performed by the dazzling Janelle Woods. During a break, Gerry confesses to Carole that he is restless in their marriage. He wants to sleep with Janelle, and he doesn't want to lie about it. Carole is stunned. As the song begins again, she takes it over and sings it herself.

Act II

Carole is in a recording studio doing a demo of "Chains". Gerry is off with Janelle but tells her he will meet her later. Nick, a guitarist, asks Carole to come sing at the Bitter End sometime but she declines — she's a songwriter, not a singer. The thing with Gerry is getting her down so she goes and talks to Cynthia who is also having trouble with Barry — they split up. Carole decides to tell Gerry he has to end the affair with Janelle. As she leaves, Barry comes in. He and Cynthia make up and play their new song, "Walking in the Rain". Gerry shows up, but he is not making sense. He eventually has a breakdown. At the hospital, he tells Carole he will end the affair with Janelle and that he wants to come home. She suggests they make a new start and move to the suburbs ("Pleasant Valley Sunday").

Barry, Cynthia and Donnie come to see the new house. Barry plays their new song, "We Gotta Get Out of This Place". Depressed that he and Carole can't do as well, Gerry leaves in a funk for the city. While he is gone, it comes out that Barry and Cynthia have seen him with another woman, a singer named Marilyn Wald. Carole goes to Marilyn's apartment and Gerry is there. It's the final straw, and she ends their marriage. At the Bitter End, where Barry and Cynthia hear their song "Uptown", Carole explains she went to Los Angeles for a vacation and has started writing on her own. Nick, the guitarist from the studio who asked her to sing with his group, is playing there and urges her to sing. She sings her new song, "It's Too Late". She decides to move to Los Angeles. At 1650, she says goodbye to Donnie, Barry and Cynthia and plays them a parting present "You've Got a Friend".

In Los Angeles, she records her album, Tapestry. The session goes well until the last song, which she is afraid to sing. It's a song she wrote with Gerry and she is afraid of the feelings it may stir up. Her producer, Lou Adler, persuades her. She sings "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman". The album is a smash. Carole is at Carnegie Hall for her concert, and is met by Gerry, who apologizes for the way he mistreated her in the past and gives her a final prediction - "you're going all the way". Carole takes to the piano, and performs for her audience.


Musical numbers

† Not included on the original Broadway Cast Album.


The musical uses a 12-member orchestra consisting of three keyboards, two guitars, bass, drums, percussion, two reeds, trumpet/flugelhorn, and trombone/bass trombone.[26][27] In addition, the performer playing Carole King plays the piano or mimes as another performer plays.


The Broadway cast album was recorded in February 2014 by Ghostlight Records and was released in digital form on April 1, 2014. It was in stores as of May 13, 2014. (The Broadway cast album includes the song "You've Got a Friend", although that song is not listed in the opening night playbill.) The album was also released on a vinyl format.[28][29]

Principal roles and original casts

Character Broadway Cast West End Cast[30] U.S. Tour Cast Japan Cast U.K. Tour Cast Australian Tour Cast Second U.S. Tour Cast Second U.K. Tour Cast Third U.K. Tour Cast
Carole King Jessie Mueller Katie Brayben Abby Mueller Nana Mizuki
Ayaka Hirahara
Bronté Barbé Esther Hannaford Sarah Bockel Daisy Wood-Davis Molly Grace-Cutler
Gerry Goffin Jake Epstein Alan Morrissey Liam Tobin Kanata Irei Kane Oliver Parry Josh Piterman Dylan S. Wallach Adam Gillian Tom Milner
Cynthia Weil Anika Larsen Lorna Want Becky Gulsvig Sonim Amy Ellen Richardson Amy Lehpamer Alison Whitehurst Laura Baldwin Seren Sandham-Davies
Barry Mann Jarrod Spector Ian McIntosh Ben Fankhauser Akinori Nakagawa Matthew Gonsalves Mat Verevis Jacob Heimer Cameron Sharp Jos Slovick
Don Kirshner Jeb Brown Gary Trainor Curt Bouril Shinji Takeda Adam Howden Mike McLeish James Clow Oliver Boot Garry Robson
Genie Klein Liz Larsen Glynis Barber Suzanne Grodner Miyuki Tsurugi Carol Royle Anne Wood Suzanne Grodner Susie Fenwick Clare Greenway
Betty Rebecca LaChance Joanna Woodward Sarah Bockel Ayaka Larrison Leigh Lothian Stefanie Caccamo Elise Vannerson Vicki Manser Sorrel Jordan
Neil Sedaka/Righteous Brother/Lou Adler Kevin Duda Ed Currie John Michael Dias Gen Yamada Ben Morris Jason Arrow John Michael Dias Jordan Fox Dan de Cruz
Kevin Yates
Lucille/Shirelle/"One Fine Day" Backup Singer Carly Hughes Danielle Steers Salisha Thomas Natsuko Takagi Paige Miller Ruva Ngwenya Marla Louissant Naomi Alade
The Drifters E. Clayton Cornelious
Douglas Lyons
Arbender J. Robinson
James Harkness
Matthew Elliot Campbell
Khalid Daley
Matt Mills
Simeon Montague
Nathan Andrew Riley
Dimitri Joseph Moise
Michael Stiggers, Jr.
Deon Releford Lee
Kemi Clarke
Myles Miller
Kevin Yates
Dylan Gordon-Jones
Shirelle/Janelle Woods Rashidra Scott Tanisha L. Spring Rebecca E. Covington Eliana Jessica Joslin Akina Edmonds McKynleigh Alden Abraham Louise Francis
Shirelle/Little Eva/"One Fine Day" Backup Singer Ashley Blanchet Lucy St. Louis Ashley Blanchet MARIA-E Esme Laudat Chloé Zuel Alexis Tidwell Leah St. Luce Amena El-Kindy
Shirelle/"One Fine Day" Backup Singer/"Uptown" Singer Alysha Deslorieux Tanya Nicole-Edwards Britney Coleman Marie Sugaya Paige Miller Rebecca Selley Deanne Stewart Naomi Alade
Righteous Brother/Nick Josh Davis Dylan Turner Andrew Brewer Yasuhiro Yamano Grant McConvey Andrew Cook Paul Scanlan Grant McConvey Peter Mooney
Marilyn Wald Sara King Vivien Carter DeLaney Westfall Sayaka Watabiki Emma Lucia Naomi Price Aashley Morgan Carly Cook Sorrel Jordan

Notable cast replacements

Critical reception

Ben Brantley, reviewing for The New York Times, called the musical a "friendly, formulaic bio-musical". He wrote that the musical shows the change in King from a modest songwriter to the popular and confident performer of those songs, showing the "real, conflicted person within the reluctant star."[36]

Jesse Green, in his review for the New York Magazine, praised the performers but criticized the book, writing that the musical does not have the "dramatic coherence of book biomusicals".[37] Similarly, Elyse Sommer, in her review for, praised the performers, especially Mueller, Spector and Larsen, as well as the "shimmery lighting" and the costumes. She wrote that while the musical "doesn't hang its songs on the greatest or most suspenseful story ever told, it has enough bounce and Broadway show glitz to keep you in your seat".[38]

Awards and nominations

Original Broadway production

Year Award Category Nominee Result
2014 Tony Award Best Musical Nominated
Best Book of a Musical Douglas McGrath Nominated
Best Leading Actress in a Musical Jessie Mueller Won
Best Featured Actor in a Musical Jarrod Spector Nominated
Best Featured Actress in a Musical Anika Larsen Nominated
Best Orchestrations Steve Sidwell Nominated
Best Sound Design Brian Ronan Won
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Musical Nominated
Outstanding Book of a Musical Douglas McGrath Nominated
Outstanding Actress in a Musical Jessie Mueller Won
Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical Anika Larsen Won
Outstanding Orchestrations Steve Sidwell Nominated
Outstanding Sound Design in a Musical Brian Ronan Won
2015 Grammy Award Best Musical Theater Album Jessie Mueller (principal soloist); Jason Howland, Steve Sidwell & Billy Jay Stein (producers) Won

Original London production

Year Award Ceremony Category Nominee Result
2015 Laurence Olivier Award Best New Musical Nominated
Best Actress in a Musical Katie Brayben Won
Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Musical Ian McIntosh Nominated
Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Musical Lorna Want Won
Best Theatre Choreographer Josh Prince Nominated
Best Costume Design Alejo Vietti Nominated
Best Sound Design Brian Ronan Nominated
Outstanding Achievement in Music The Orchestra Nominated
2016 WhatsOnStage Awards Best New Musical Nominated
Best Actress in a Musical Katie Brayben Nominated

Film adaptation

On March 22, 2015, it was announced that Sony Pictures would be bringing the musical to the big screen with Douglas McGrath adapting his book into a screenplay and stage producer Paul Blake producing through Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman's production company, Playtone.[39]

In December 2022, Daisy Edgar-Jones was cast in the lead role of the film, with Lisa Cholodenko directing from a script she co-wrote with Stuart Blumberg.[40]


The producers of the original Broadway production include: Paul Blake, Sony/ATV Music Publishing, Jeffery A. Sine, Richard A. Smith, Mike Bosner, Harriet Newman Leve, Elaine Krauss, Terry Schnuck, Orin Wolf, Patty Baker, Roger Faxon, Larry Magrid, Kit Seidel, Lawrence S. Toppall, Fakston Productions, Mary Soloman, William C. Cohen, John Gore, Barbara Freitag, Loraine Alterman Boyle, Matthew C. Blank, Tim Hogue, Joel Hyatt, Marianne Mills, Michael J. Moritz Jr., StylesFour Production, Corey Brunish, Brisa Trinchero, Jeremiah J. Harris, Sherry Kondor (Executive Producer), Christine Russell (Executive Producer).[41]


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  3. ^ Hetrick, Adam. "Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, Starring Jessie Mueller as Music Icon, Opens on Broadway" Archived 2014-01-13 at the Wayback Machine,, January 12, 2014
  4. ^ Blank, Matthew. Photo Call: Carole King Surprises Cast of Broadway Musical Beautiful With Impromptu Performance" Archived 2014-05-04 at the Wayback Machine,, April 4, 2014
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  27. ^ "Inside the Playbill: Beautiful: The Carole King Musical Playbill Opening Night at Stephen Sondheim Theatre". Playbill Vault. p. 4. Archived from the original on 11 November 2014. Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  28. ^ Gioia, Michael and Hetrick, Adam.Ghostlight Records Will Record Broadway's Beautiful: The Carole King Musical", February 13, 2014
  29. ^ Hetrick, Adam."Cast Album of 'Beautiful: The Carole King Musical' Hits Stores May 13" Archived 2014-05-13 at the Wayback Machine, May 13, 2014
  30. ^ "Complete Casting Announced for West End's Beautiful: The Carole King Musical". Playbill. 17 October 2014. Retrieved 30 December 2014.
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  32. ^ "See Chilina Kennedy Celebrate 1,000 Performances in Broadway's Beautiful". Retrieved 2019-01-16.
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