‘Beautiful’ Review: Carole King Musical Is A Fine “Tapestry” Of A “Natural Woman”

  • Deadline
‘Beautiful’ Review: Carole King Musical Is A Fine “Tapestry” Of A “Natural Woman”
The beginning of Beautiful, which opened in Los Angeles at the Pantages Theater this week, isn’t a full-blown orchestral overture to introduce the story of legendary singer-songwriter Carole King as one might expect from a Broadway musical. Instead, it starts with a lone baby grand on the stage and Sarah Bockel, who plays the titular music icon, walking out on stage as if this is her memorable 1971 concert at Carnegie Hall. She sits at the piano and starts performing “So Far Away”, swaddling the audience with the emotional song about two distant lovers, setting the tone for this jukebox musical that doesn’t feel anything like a jukebox musical.

As Bockel sings the words from “So Far Away”, she embodies quintessential 1971 King with her gorgeous mane of hair and a pre-disco era maxi dress that flows with Earth mother realness. With a tinge of a Brooklyn accent, she talks to the audience,
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