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2014 Tony Winner

2014 Tony Winner

"Beautiful" is a gift. Be sure to stay for the encore if you want to feel the earth move under your feet.

San Francisco Chronicle.

Buy Tickets For Beautiful: The Carole King MusicalBuy Tickets

Review Roundup: BEAUTIFUL Opens in the West End - All the Reviews!

Joining Katie Brayben playing the title role in the West End production of Beautiful - The Carole King Musical is Ian McIntosh as song-writer Barry Mann. The musical just opened at the Aldwych Theatre and runs through 13 June 2015.

The leading cast members also include Alan Morrissey as King's husband and song-writing partner Gerry Goffin, Lorna Want as song-writer Cynthia Weil, Glynis Barber as Genie Klein, King's mother, and Gary Trainor as music publisher and producer Don Kirshner.

Beautiful - The Carole King Musical, is based on the early life and career of legendary singer/ songwriter Carole King. Beautiful has book by Douglas McGrath with words and music by Gerry Goffin, Carole King, Barry Mannand Cynthia Weil and is directed by Marc Bruni. Choreography is by Josh Prince with set designs by Derek McLane, costume designs by Alejo Viettii, lighting by Peter Kaczorowski and sound by Brian Ronan. Orchestrations and Music Arrangements are by Steve Sidwell.

Beautiful - The Carole King Musical is the untold story of her journey from school girl to superstar; from her relationship with husband and song-writing partner Gerry Goffin, their close friendship and playful rivalry with fellow song-writing duo Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, to her remarkable rise to stardom. Along the way, she became one of the most successful solo acts in music history, and wrote the soundtrack to a generation.

Let's see what the critics had to say...

Dominic Cavendish, The Telegraph:'s the career-making, all-woman performance at its heart from relative newcomer Katie Brayben that lifts it into the realm of the "go-see"...This journey could seem quite pat, and at times, it does...Brayben is the clinching factor...she exudes an authenticity that lifts her far above the realm of a tribute-act impersonation. She captures King's familiar, plaintive intonations and her searing, sustained surges but when she sings numbers such as It's Too Late and You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman they appear to come from some core part of her. What could be the show's one-note trick, hearing songs emerging as if at the moment of composition, acquires real magic. Brayben's crowning achievement, written in the soulfulness of her performance, is to embody the take-home message that it's what's inside that counts, what comes from within that makes you beautiful.

Michael Billington, The Guardian: Fans of the singer-songwriter Carole King may be happy just to hear a replay of her biggest hits in this West End musical, an efficient re-creation by Marc Bruni of his original Broadway production but with a British cast. While the show is pleasant enough, it struck me as the theatrical equivalent of one of those bland Hollywood biopics in which a local boy or girl makes it to the top of the showbiz ladder...It's good to hear some of the old songs again, such as It Might As Well Rain Until September and The Locomotion...But the attempt to link the songs to the life feels strained...At the end, I felt I still didn't really know Carole King...Katie Brayben...makes the big leap into playing Carole King with admirable skill: she conveys her essential normality, love for music and longing for domestic harmony. Brayben also suggests a woman who backs nervously into stardom...But the show lacks the drama that some of us still hunger for in a musical.

Henry Hitchings, The Evening Standard: It's a great showcase for Lewisham native Katie Brayben. Without exactly capturing the particular qualities of King's voice and performance style, she sounds authentic and appealing -- achieving a reassuring warmth and moments of raw passion. She's adept at suggesting King's yearnings and vulnerabilities as well as her frankness and essential normality...This isn't exhilaratingly dramatic. But Marc Bruni's staging is slick and witty, Douglas McGrath's book nicely highlights the industrial efficiency of the music business, and Derek McLane's sets reinforce the impression of a world in which musicians are treated as soulless hirelings. Those who like their entertainment edgy may regard Beautiful as polite to the point of being tame. But this gently enjoyable show deserves to find an audience...Although the absence of a big name may hamper its chances, Brayben feels like a star in the making.

Andrzej Lukowski, Time Out London: The Brits love an underdog. The Yanks love a winner. And Carole King was both. So it's no wonder this biographical jukebox musical is shaping up to be a transatlantic smash, having already conquered Broadway...It's a heart-warming story, and Katie Brayben is winning in the extreme as the nerdy King. It'll probably run for ever. Except maybe one sliiiight problem: it turns out Carole King's life was really boring. Not, like, hideously boring. Probably marginally more exciting than, say, my life...Douglas McGrath's dialogue is charming and Marc Bruni's direction light and zippy. But plot-wise 'Beautiful' is basically two-and-a-half hours of Carole sitting in an office, writing songs, with the occasional cut to her marriage failing apart, poignantly but affably...Brayben is a good actor, a nice singer -- maybe a bit more Stevie Nicks than Carole King, but that's fine -- and a sweet fulcrum to all the action...But really, there's not a lot here beyond the songs.

Paul Taylor, The Independent: Katie a wonderfully endearing performance that seems to soar beyond mere impersonation as it communicates King's warmth, modesty, self-deprecating humour, and touching integrity and projects the straight-from-the-heart candour of that nasal, husky, plaintively yearning singing voice...It feels to me, though, that McGrath's book and Marc Bruni's production...are happiest when treating the Fifties and the early Sixties with a tongue-in-cheek wit...But the deficiencies of the jukebox genre - the fact that there's too little time for sustained drama - become much more apparent latterly when Carole's dreams of a fulfilling marriage in the suburbs are dashed...It says a great deal for the depth of Brayben's performance that she can, nonetheless, give you a real tear-jerking sense of how far King has had come to earn the right to sing the jubilant titular song at the inspiring finale.

Quentin Letts, The Daily Mail: They don't erect statues to living people but no such qualms exist in musical theatre...Carole is played by Katie Brayben, who grows into the part as the story reaches the 1970s when a divorced, newly assertive King became the voice for a generation of women. Miss Brayben overcomes a shocker of a wig and wins us round as Carole the victor, Carole the decent, slightly square mother of two who also just happened to be an ace composer. Cue violins. This is a big American production and it is slickly done. A busy ensemble gives us the Drifters, the Shirelles and the Righteous Brothers in best karaoke fashion...Its Americanised, airbrushy niceness aside, this show is sweet and happy as pie. It milks the tear ducts, gives you a long list of searing songs and will send many a couple home arm-in-arm to the very suburbs Carole King adored.

Mark Valencia, WhatsOnStage: Douglas McGrath's book doesn't do subtlety; it just gets on with naming the names and teeing up the hits in a whistle-stop tour through the life and work of not one but four great American songsmiths...Beautiful is way too respectful towards its living subjects. Wait a few decades and perhaps some future dramatist will come up with a less antiseptic, more dramatically grounded musical about Goffin and King. For now, what we have is a collection of great songs linked by fragments of safe biography...The show is saved from ignominy -- and how -- by a star-making central performance by Katie Brayben...this human powerhouse lives and breathes her character at a level no one else in the company even approaches. However meagre the dialogue, however overfamiliar the song, her delivery is truthful and inhabited. At every stage of King's story, from "It Might as Well Rain Until September" until "You've Got a Friend", Brayben grows as her character grows.

Mark Shenton, London Theatre: Like Jersey Boys, the musical uses the songs to illustrate and punctuate the story of their own creators' lives. It delivers some appropriate transitions, but also some clunky ones...but then what numbers King wrote! I'd quite happily listen to them all night. And that's more or less what we do in between the exposition. As delivered with a rare mixture of ferocity and vivacity, passion and charm by Katie Brayben, the show's proof is definitely in its pudding of those songs and this performance of them. It is beautifully served, too, by a music department led by musical supervisor Jason Howland and musical director Matt Smith.

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What You Say

10 reviews, average rating: (5.0 Stars)

William Kayen: “So Enjoyable”

From the moment the show starts and until the end, you are amazed by it. T... more

Anonymous: “Wonderful Night At The Theatre”

Loved it!! I was here visiting from Los Angeles. I have always loved Carol... more

Govholland: “Excellent Story. Excellent Songs. Excellent Actors.”

What more could you ask for in a musical. Great!... more

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