Beautiful will make you want to dance.


Carnegie Hall. Kennedy Caughell (“Carole King”). Photo by Joan Marcus

The Peace Center in downtown Greenville opened the latest show in it's Broadway series, "Beautiful: The Carole King Musical".


The musical tells the story of King from her days as a teenager until her 1971 performance at Carnegie Hall.


"Beautiful" starts with King, played by Kennedy Caughell, addressing the crowd after singing "So Far Away" before transitioning into the childhood home where we are thrown into the life of the singer-songwriter.

Queens College. Kennedy Caughell (“Carole King”) and James D. Gish (“Gerry Goffin”). Photo by Joan Marcus

Unlike other musicals featuring well-known hits of a band or artist, such as "Mamma Mia!" or "American Idiot", "Beautiful" uses the songs to tell the story of King's life, including her partnership and marriage to Gerry Goffin, whom she wrote over 118 pop hits on the Billboard 100.


Caughell's portrayal of King was empowering and more than once left this writer saying "Yes, girl."


James D. Gish's portrayal of Goffin at times left me speechless. The erratic behavior of Goffin, including manic episodes, which alluded to his bipolar diagnosis, though it is never stated in the musical itself.


In comparison to the quick romance of Goffin and King, there is a parallel to that with the romance between Barry Mann, played by James Michael Lambert, and Cynthia Weil, played by Kathryn Boswell.

Walking in the Rain. James Michael Lambert (“Barry Mann”) and Kathryn Boswell (“Cynthia Weil”). Photo by Joan Marcus

Lambert's comedic timing and Boswell's witty delivery gave some of the best comedy in the play. Not only for comic relief, Mann and Weil, like King and Goffin, wrote some of the biggest songs of the 60s.


Friends to King and Goffin, Mann and Weil compete with them for that #1 spot on top of the Billboard charts.


Not only does "Beautiful" focus on the writers, but also on the songs they created. Throughout the musical, we are given a look into some of the biggest acts of the day, including The Shirelles, The Drifters, and The Righteous Brothers.


The Shirelles. (l to r) Nazarria Workman, Nya, Hailee Kaleem Wright and Antoinette Comer. Photo by Joan Marcus

From the flawless scene changes to the amazing quick changes to the songs that shaped a generation, "Beautiful: The Carole King Musical" is one of those plays that will make you want to get up out of your chair and dance around the Peace Center. It's well worth the price of a ticket, which starts at $35.

"Beautiful: The Carole King Musical" is playing at the Peace Center until January 5th!


You can find out more about this show and more at www.peacecenter.org/

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