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  Beautiful - The Carole King Musical at Stephen Sondheim Theatre

Beautiful - The Carole King Musical

Stephen Sondheim Theatre
124 West 43rd Street New York

Long before she was Carole King: chart-topping music artist, she was Carol Klein: a girl from Brooklyn. She fought her way into the record business as a teenager and, by the time she reached her twenties, had the husband of her dreams and a career writing hits for the biggest acts in rock 'n' roll.

Thru - Oct 27, 2019

Tuesdays: 7:00pm
Wednesdays: 2:00pm & 7:00pm
Thursdays: 7:00pm
Fridays: 8:00pm
Saturdays: 2:00pm & 8:00pm
Sundays: 3:00pm

Price: $75-$162

Running Time: 2hrs, 15mins

Stephen Sondheim Theatre Seating Chart

  Beautiful - The Carole King Musical Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

The New York Times - Recommended

"......[a] friendly, formulaic bio-musical... modeled with sheepish but cold calculation on Jersey Boys ... Beautiful [is] lucidly directed by Marc Bruni with a tracing-paper script by Douglas McGrath... In its first act, the show seems to exhaust itself it sure exhausted me as it dutifully wedges such songs into production numbers... A suggestion of hangdog self-consciousness hovers over Beautiful at such moments. And you can imagine Mr. McGrath wincing as he created them. Even more annoying is the synthetically slick interpretations of numbers that were, in their first incarnations, so appealing because of their youthful rawness... Originality is clearly not this show's strong suit. With one very important exception... Much of what makes Ms. Mueller's performance so touching is its projection of a lack of confidence."
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Ben Brantley

NY Daily News - Recommended

"...Too bad a great musical isn't only about the music. The book is crucial, too and this show's connect-the-dots story line is so simplistic that the extravagantly talented King's life emerges as a mundane version of the long-suffering little woman... So if you crave real insight, drama or context about the world of pop music and its dog-eat-dog ugliness, cherish your memories of Dreamgirls.  But on the plus side, songs flow naturally... The group numbers recall other jukebox shows, but they're energizing... Under the direction of Marc Bruni, the whole cast delivers... Best of all is Mueller..."
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Joe Dziemianowicz

Associated Press - Somewhat Recommended

"...It's just insipid... a sumptuous score and a lackluster story that fails to do something the singer-songwriter did proudly feel honest... None of this is the fault of Jessie Mueller, the rising Broadway star who plays King with genuine feeling and a lovely voice... The injection of the other couple a very good Anika Larsen as Weil and a nifty Jarrod Spector as Mann creates more songs, but muddies the plot... Is there any lesson to be gleaned from this musical?...Don't write honest musicals about living people without breaking some eggs..."
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Mark Kennedy

Hollywood Reporter - Recommended

"......this is entertaining boomer bait that elevates its by-the-numbers narrative with great songs... McGrath, director Marc Bruni and the appealing performers don't exactly break that mold by going for complexity. But while keeping things light and breezy, they have populated Beautiful with well-defined characters with relatable human foibles... The ace up the show's sleeve, however, is Mueller's lovely performance as King, full of self-effacing humor, emotional depth and understated vulnerability."
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David Rooney

Vulture - Recommended

"... ¦ [Mueller plays] the title character almost better than the famously stage-frightened singer-songwriter ever played herself. Without slavish vocal imitation, Mueller is completely believable as King when she sings, catching both her sexy huskiness and the idiosyncratic way she adjusts the placement of her voice syllable by syllable. The result, regardless of its Kingliness, is thrilling and true but it's not just a vocal performance. From the lineaments of the character she has created a symphony of shy line readings and bubbly self-doubt ¦ Thus ends the rave. For, sad to say, Mueller is starring in a mess of a show ¦ But historical inaccuracy is forgivable, at least as entertainment, in the service of narrative coherence, which Beautiful almost virtuosically lacks ¦ Marc Bruni certainly hasn't improved it. The show is full of clunky transitions, dead space, scenes that peter out until someone mercifully snaps off the lights. Derek McLane's post-and-scaffold Jersey Boy-clone sets seem generic and tacky ¦ To the extent the show remains bizarrely enjoyable despite its essential hackishness, it's this central quartet of performers who make it happen."
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Jesse Green

New York Theatre - Recommended

"... ¦ [a] beautifully performed and tuneful new entertainment ¦ The story serves as an efficient delivery system for Carole King's surprisingly diverse hits “ not much more, nothing less. But there are also some secret weapons. One of them is Jessie Mueller ¦ There is some effort at a dramatic arc and a feminist spin ¦ For many people, the music will be more than enough ¦ What makes Beautiful  riveting are the performances ¦ What is impressive about [Mueller's] Carole King is that it doesn't feel like a star turn; she persuasively inhabits the awkward but eager teenager who bloom before our eyes, still convinced she's just average. It is a bravado performance of humility. Her singing takes us on that same journey, subtly reflecting King's journey, yet with a voice that is sure to keep Mueller employed on stage ¦forever."
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Jonathan Mandell

Variety - Recommended

"...The early life and career of legendary singer-songwriter Carole King surely deserves more imaginative treatment than the corny chronological storytelling (And then we wrote ¦) and old-fashioned musical format (scene/song/scene/song) of Beautiful.  But whenever this bio-musical stumbles over Douglas McGrath's flat-footed book, helmer Marc Bruni rushes to the rescue with some snazzy piece of stagecraft for the sleek production numbers. And all is forgotten, even momentarily forgiven, whenever Jessie Mueller, in the modest person of Carole King, sits down at the piano and pours heart and soul into familiar favorites from the composer's songbook."
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Marilyn Stasio

New York Post - Recommended

"...Her songs may be great, but where's the drama? The problem is King didn't have any something which Beautiful  handles in two ways. The first is the inspired casting of its star, Jessie Mueller ¦ her engaging, moving performance here should make her [a household name] ¦ Mueller sings with aching, honest emotion ¦ the book is often heavy-handed, and Marc Bruni's production only occasionally resurrects the bubbly verve and energy of those glorious songs. Derek McLane's bilevel set displays near-industrial practicality, but Brian Ronan's sound design is mediocre at best. The originals snapped and popped, but here the music feels muffled in cotton. Worse, the producers skimped by using synth strings in the orchestra instead of real ones. Not only does this sound cheap, but there's actually a plot point about how King wrote her own string arrangements! And yet Beautiful  also strikes genuine grace notes thanks to Mueller. When she sings the first lines from Will You Love Me Tomorrow,  the song and the moment feel timeless."
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Elisabeth Vincentelli

Entertainment Weekly - Recommended

" may not feel the earth move under your feet. But the new Broadway show emerges as a slick and joyous celebration of female empowerment. Like Jersey Boys, Beautiful features a smart, well-crafted, and often funny book... It also boasts a winning central performance by Jessie Mueller... What makes King a compelling artist are her introspection and magnanimity... But those are not qualities one often finds in the heroine of a Broadway musical, and at times Mueller can get lost in the role's inherent understatement... The show's occasional infelicities seem less glaring by the end of the second act..."
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Thom Geier

Bergen Record - Somewhat Recommended

"...The result is a very mixed bag. The musical numbers are great fun, presented with style and humor... While not exactly amateurish, [the book] aims very low, settling for the tried and trite... A big boost comes, though, from the warmly natural portrayal of King by Jesse Mueller, who also possesses a lovely, supple singing voice... Her big break is presented with a total lack of drama, a sign of flatness to come... They're characterized in lazy, endlessly repeated, comic shorthand... If you go to "Beautiful" for the songs, you'll probably have a great time. Just don't expect anything more."
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Robert Feldberg

Newsday - Recommended

"...With Marc Bruni's crisp direction and Josh Prince's precision choreography, the hits segue seamlessly on Derek McLane's industrial grid set -- from drab office to glittery concert stage -- with the efficiency of a snappy line (libretto by Douglas McGrath) ¦ Jessie Mueller strikes a delicate balance between spunk and humility, making it impossible not to root for her as she morphs into an inspired Carole King."
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Steve Parks

amNY - Highly Recommended

"...Well, she can rest assured that Beautiful,  a sentimental and sympathetic biography led by a poignant, extremely winning performance from breakout star Jessie Mueller, is slickly staged, genuinely touching and very enjoyable... Beautiful  is unusually coherent, character-driven and sincere for a jukebox musical. And who can resist those songs? So how can this not be a hit?"
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Matt Windman

NBC New York - Highly Recommended

"'s a rich thrill to sit for the new musical Beautiful"... With an understated performance, Mueller establishes herself among the elite of Broadway leading ladies. The actress, 30, doesn't sound much like King, but she makes each song her own while respecting the original imprint. She has lovely chemistry with Epstein... [director] Bruni constructs some delightful segues... If there's an oversimplification in McGrath's story, it's that we're left to think the trauma in King's life was just the tumultuous marriage."
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Robert Kahn

Time Out New York - Highly Recommended

" least director Marc Bruni's production avoids being a brain-dead, self-satisfied hit parade... Yes, Beautiful loves its diligent, long-suffering pop genius, and invites you to do the same. It's quite an easy task when you have the phenomenal Jessie Mueller in the lead. The effortlessly appealing star... exudes warmth and common sense... McGrath's deft, wry book... humanizes the principals in quick, confident brushstrokes... you realize how effectively this hooky, soulful songbook and Mueller's smartly wistful performance deliver emotional release. When the divine Mueller lets loose, you feel the earth move."
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David Cote

The Wrap - Recommended

"...Nice,  though, is the word that best describes this showbiz musical that goes out of its way to prove that great talent isn't necessarily dramatic ¦ Beautiful  is a refreshing, if not needed, respite on the musical landscape. It's amiable without being heart-wrenching, amusing without being laugh-ridden, entertaining without being enthralling ¦ let it be noted that Beautiful  stars the incredibly talented Jessie Mueller, who looks a lot like King and more than a little like Brice, and who possesses the vocal chops (as evidenced here and recent outings in Carousel,  On a Clear Day  and Edwin Drood ) to fill Barbra Streisand's shoes in that long-awaited first Broadway revival of Funny Girl. "
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Robert Hofler

New Jersey Newsroom - Recommended

"...Beautiful: The Carole King Musical  serves up a tasty slice of Baby Boomer heaven... An endearing performance by Jessie Mueller as Carole King makes the new Broadway show seem even nicer... the script for Beautiful  is quick and sometimes amusing... Director Marc Bruni's swift and exceptionally smooth staging makes it all go down agreeably. Choreographer Josh Prince contributes some lively bouts of synchronized dance moves... A pleasant enough entertainment aimed for the older Broadway crowd, Beautiful  is an okay jukebox bio-show that packages plenty of vintage ˜60s tunes with a goodly amount of professionalism."
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Michael Sommers

Talkin Broadway - Somewhat Recommended

"...Though Beautiful is ultra-slick and impeccably executed for what it is, electrifying it is not... McGrath offers, in other words, nothing you haven't seen before and nothing that its still-living subjects could honestly object to... Neither he nor director Marc Bruni compensates with original staging or song-spotting ideas, leaving the story drifting along speedily if awkwardly... Mueller is a genuine talent who possesses a killer voice but iffy star quality... Beautiful's willingness to settle for bland hagiography rather than dangerous, exciting truth makes the natural woman  it documents seem as unnatural as stage creations come."
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Matthew Murray - Highly Recommended

" of the most entertaining Broadway shows in years. All of the necessary elements have come together here, from a surprisingly smart and witty book by Douglas McGrath, smooth direction by Marc Bruni, lively, period-feeling choreography by Josh Prince, and the work of a consistently top-notch cast led by the extraordinary Jessie Mueller as King... A Tony Award nomination [for Mueller] (and possibly the statuette itself) are definitely in order."
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Brian Scott Lipton

New York Observer - Recommended

"......if it happens that you [Carole] lead me to a mediocre bioplay that combines your peerless catalog... with a lifeless book, well, I'll follow you there, too, and more or less happily... It also offers top-notch performances, most notably from the supremely talented Jessie Mueller... It's even nicely directed, by Marc Bruni, a slick and high-gloss production... for all the script's clunkiness and corniness, its hazily drawn characters and elided history, you can't help getting caught up in this moment."
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Jesse Oxfeld

TheaterMania - Highly Recommended

"...Its attraction can be largely attributed to a compelling book by Douglas McGrath and top-notch performances from the show's four leads, particularly Jessie Mueller, who plays King... McGrath's engrossing tale accents the drama of the story with the already emotionally supercharged music of its subjects... There's much to like about Beautiful The Carole King Musical. That's why it's so disappointing that the element that should be the easiest sell the timeless music of King, Goffin, Weil, and Mann is often the hardest to swallow. While it's always nice to hear great songs you already know performed by first-rate singers, many of the arrangements follow the same haphazard trajectory... Beautiful sets a high bar for all of this year's forthcoming leading ladies."
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Zachary Stewart

Theatre Is Easy - Recommended

"'Beautiful' places more focus on the music than the story and plot, making it not so much a tribute to Carole King’s life as it is a tribute to her large body of work...The second half of the show a bit more attention is given to the storyline and character development...While 'Beautiful' might not explore King’s full complexity, it certainly succeeds in celebrating her music."
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Adrienne Urbanski

  Beautiful - The Carole King Musical Photo Gallery