Beautiful is not only an entertaining musical biography of the incomparable Carole King, but a retrospective on the gifted songwriters of the ‘60s (King, her husband and partner Gerry Goffin, and the team of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil) whose tunes recorded by others dominated the American pop charts. Unlike some jukebox musicals which are little more than impersonations augmented by screen projections, Beautiful is a play with music – and what music. If you ever needed a reminder of King’s towering talent, Beautiful is it. You also learn about the road she took from songwriter-for-hire to solo superstar in the early ‘70s. On this national tour of Douglas McGrath’s Beautiful, the Carole King role is very ably handled by Abby Mueller, whose sister, Jessica, won a Tony for her original Broadway performance.
David L. Coddon is theater critic for San Diego CityBeat