Here is Brittany & Katie’s new review of Beautiful:
What do “The Locomotion”, “Like a Natural Woman”, and “It’s Too Late” have in common? Aside from the general time period they were written, we didn’t think much. That is until we saw Beautiful: The Carole King Musical at SHN’s Curran Theater.
Katie: These reenactment musicals, where they just sing songs that we all know, never get me like other musicals. I like original songs, not ones I know repurposed. I thought the acting and the singing was really good, the set was great, but I wasn’t really taken away anywhere.
Brittany: I enjoyed it, but I don’t think it’s a very well constructed musical. I had NO IDEA who Carole King was going into the show. I really like all the songs she wrote, but I had no idea she wrote them. My Mom always had on the on the 60s oldies station in the car, and we’d sing along to these songs, so there was a fun nostalgia in seeing them performed on stage. But like you said, I don’t think I was ever that into the play. It felt like the writer tried to cram in every single hit she ever wrote, which made the plot really brief.
K: Right there was so little story! I wanted more.
B: What was there of the story was great, and surprisingly endearing, but I wish there were a few less hits and a little more of the characters. I thought all the actors were great, the singing was great, I just wish there had been more story.
K: That’s definitely what I was thinking. Especially in the first act when it was hit after hit, I wanted to go back to her and her life.
B: Part of the problem is we’re not appropriately aged to know if the actors playing the bands that played her hits acted and sounded exactly like that group. It sounded similar to what I remember of the recordings, but for me it was never “Oh my God those girls have The Shirelles nailed”. I bet they did, but because I didn’t know the first act got repetitive. I think my Mom might have loved it.
K: Well done production, the woman who played Carole (Jessie Mueller) was amazing, I just wanted more of her. She was such a good actress. I mean, if you love this music, you love Carole King, you’ll love this musical.
The Verdict: Are you a huge fan of 60s/70s pop music? Are you into music history? You should totally go see this show! Don’t care about music from that era? You’ll probably be disappointed with the brevity of the story, even though it’s an endearing one. But it is going to Broadway next, so there’s always the cache of seeing it first.
The Drama Talk: Just like most shows put up by SHN, this one doesn’t fail to dazzle with the production. Beautiful sets, talented actors, overall a great spectacle. The only thing that fell short was the play, which choose hits over substance.
The Drinks: We’re always at a loss when it comes to food and drinks near Union Square. Luckily, Katie did her research and we decided to check out Redford down the street. We now have a new go-to spot for happy hour in the neighborhood, which goes extra long on week nights. Brittany got the Redford Manhattan, since the play took place in NY. Katie got a Moscow Mule, because she’s a hippie sympathizer or something. Both were a great end to a fun night.
Beautiful: The Carole King Musical runs through October 20th at the Curran Theater. Tickets range from $210 – $75 (on the pricey side) and can be purchased through the SHN website.