Saturday, November 11, 2023

REVIEW: Beautiful: The Carole King Musical at Marriott Theatre Through December 31, 2023

 ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar 

Guest Review 
by D'Arcy Mies 

If you are already familiar with Carole King, then you already know this show is one not to miss.  And if, like me, you only thought you knew her music and life, then you are in for a real treat.  Either way, expect "Beautiful - The Carole King Musical" to be a joyful evening full-to-the-brim with comic and musical delight.

It is always fun to see how Marriot Theatre is going to dress their theatre in the round.  For this show, it's pretty simple, a piano takes center stage and the piano-key motif is repeated throughout, even as a backdrop to project images. The piano itself gets a clever bit of stage dressing, changing it's facade for different periods in King's life story. Charmingly, even the stage, a revolving rotunda, is painted to resemble a record album. 

The play opens with King's triumphant 1971 Carnegie Hall Concert, and flashes back to the beginning of her career, when a teenage Carole Klein begs her mother's permission to go down to Times Square and try to sell a song to producer Donnie Kirshner. Genie Klein is both a bitter divorcee and the queen of sarcastic humor and the scene is crackling with snappy one-liners. As the show goes on, we are regaled with some truly funny dialog and great comic timing from the cast. The audience is also treated to a whirlwind tour of some of the great pop hits of the 1960's, many produced by Kirshner, who, you guessed it, hires Carole on the spot. Carole becomes a songwriter and, with her writing partner/husband Gerry churns our many beloved tunes for hitmaker Kirshner over the years.  

As the play goes on, we are introduced to many of the characters in the spotlight and behind the scenes in this prolific time period. The songs are woven into the show in clever and fun ways, and the choregraphy and staging is great, too. 

I found myself bouncing in my seat, smiling with glee, and had to virtually restrain myself from singing along with hit single after hit single. Kaitlyn Davis sounds, to my ear, gratifyingly like Carole King, and the covers of these familiar songs are satisfying and spot on, they sound like the recordings we all know and love.

Of course, there are struggles in King's life, especially diificulties with her marriage, but this play doesn't wallow too long in sadness and instead brings us back to where the show began, with Carole King, a piano, and a "Beautiful" song. 

Highly Recommended 
★★★★ Four out of four stars -- D'Arcy Mies,

D'Arcy Mies is a Montessori teacher, mom, and long time theater lover who lives in Chicago burb, Franklin Park. She loves cosplay, book stores, and has a rescue dog once voted "Worst Dressed Sentient Being in the Known Universe".

Peter Blair, Executive Producer 

Peter Marston Sullivan, Artistic Director 



Celebrating the soundtrack of a generation!

The Tony and Grammy Award-winning Broadway mega-hit, which has thrilled audiences with the inspiring true story of one woman’s remarkable journey from teenage songwriter to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, closes out Marriott Theatre’s 2023 Season. 

Previewing Wednesday, November 1 at 7:30 pm, opening Wednesday, November 8 at 7:30 pm and closing December 31, 2023, this moving biographical musical will be directed by Jessica Fisch (Marriott Theatre debut! Drury Lane Theatre: Murder on the Orient Express; Writers Theatre: Athena; Northlight Theatre: Dear Jack Dear Louise), choreography by Christopher Windom (Marriott Theare debut! Film: RESPECT starring Jennifer Hudson as Aretha Franklin; The Vineyard Theatre: Kid Victory) and musical direction by Jeff Award Winner Ryan T. Nelson.

Featuring over two dozen pop classics, including “You’ve Got a Friend,” “One Fine Day,” “Up on the Roof,” “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling,” “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” and “Natural Woman,” this crowd-pleasing international phenomenon is filled with the songs you remember, and a story you’ll never forget. The bio-musical follows King’s rise to stardom, from her time as part of a hit songwriting team with husband Gerry Goffin, to her relationship with fellow writers and best friends Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann, to becoming one of the most successful solo acts in popular music history with Tapestry. BEAUTIFUL: THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL takes you back to where it all began – and takes you on the ride of a lifetime.

“Growing up my parents only kept a handful of tapes in the car, one of which was Tapestry, the best-selling album of Carole King,” said director Jessica Fisch. “Simply put I can’t remember a time in my life when Carole King wasn’t singing to me. She is part of the soundtrack of my life and that is true for so many people. It is a dream come true to get to direct this first made-in-Chicago production.”

BEAUTIFUL: THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL will star Kaitlyn Davis, who played the role in the First National Tour in 2015. Other National Tour credits include The Phantom of the Opera. 

Co-stars include Andrew Mueller as “Gerry Goffin” (Marriott Theatre: Man of La Mancha, For The Boys; Paramount Theatre: Rent); Erica Stephan as “Cynthia Weil” (Marriott Theatre: Damn Yankees; Porchlight Theatre: Cabaret); Justin Albinder as “Barry” (National Tour & New World Stages: Jersey Boys); Janet Ulrich Brooks as “Genie Klein” (Goodman Theatre: The Cherry Orchard; Drury Lane Theatre: Steel Magnolias); and Lawrence Grimm as “Don Kirshner” (Goodman Theatre: 2666; Timeline Theatre: My Name is Asher Lev); with Melanie Brezill, Christian Denzel Bufford, Caron Buinis, Ariana Burks, Dan Gold, Daryn Whitney Harrell, Kayla Kennedy, Adam LaSalle, Naiqui Macabroad, Michael E. Martin, Spencer Davis Milford, Yasir Muhammad, Juwon Tyrel Perry, Alexis J Roston, Maya Rowe, Aisha Sougou, and Alina Taber.

The artistic team features Scenic Designer Andrew Boyce, Costume Designer Sully Ratke, Lighting Designer Jesse Klug, Sound Designer Michael Daly, Media Designer Anthony Churchill, Props Designer Sally Zack, Production Manager Meg Love, Assistant Director Nora Geffen, Stage Manager Jessica Banaszak, Assistant Stage Manager Richard Strimer, Intimacy Choreographer Katie Johannigman, Dialect Coach Adam Goldstein, and Conductor Christopher Sargent.

BEAUTIFUL: THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL is scheduled to run Wednesdays at 1 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Sundays at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m., with select Thursday 1:00 p.m. shows. Ticket prices start at $55 (excluding tax and handling fees). 

Call for student, senior, and military discounts. On Wednesday and Thursday evenings there are a limited number of dinner-theatre packages available for purchase through the Marriott Theatre Box Office. To make a restaurant reservation, please call 847.634.0100. Reservations strongly recommended. 

Free parking is available at all performances. To reserve tickets, please call The Marriott Theatre Box Office at 847.634.0200 or go to Visit for more information.

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