‘Beautiful – The Carole King Musical’ coming to Wharton Center in January
By Larry Hook
The Lookout Adviser
“Beautiful – The Carole King Musical,” the early-life story of the legendary singer/songwriter, is coming to the Wharton Center at Michigan State University in January.
The Tony and Grammy award-winning musical features live performances of many of King’s beloved hits, including “I Feel the Earth Move,” “One Fine Day,” “You’ve Got a Friend” and the title song.
“Carole King might be a native New Yorker, but her story of struggle and triumph is as universal as they come – and her music is loved the world over,” producer Paul Blake said in a press release. “We know that audiences throughout the country will embrace this show just as Broadway and London audiences have.”
“Beautiful” will appear at The Cobb Great Hall in the Wharton Center eight times between Tuesday, Jan. 10 and Sunday, Jan. 15. Show times are Tuesday through Thursday at 7:30 p.m.; Friday at 8 p.m.; Saturday at 2 and 8 p.m.; and Sunday at 1 and 6:30 p.m.
Tickets for “Beautiful” start at $41 and are on sale now by calling (517) 432-2000 or 1-800-WHARTON, or going to www.whartoncenter.com/
The musical stars Julia Knitel as Carole King. Liam Tobin co-stars as Gerry Goffin, Carole’s writing partner and husband. The show is set in the years from 1959 to 1971.
Tobin, who has appeared in more than 500 “Beautiful” performances during the past 17 months, recently spoke to The Lookout about the musical.
“We start out in 1959 when Gerry and Carole meet at Queens College in New York; he was 18 and she was 16,” Tobin explained. “They strike up a romantic and professional relationship at the same time.
“We kind of follow their marriage and their careers at the same time and how each of them influenced the other. We get to see how all of their very, very famous songs came to be. … We get to see Carole and Gerry celebrate success, and then have serious problems in their marriage along the way.”
“It eventually dissolves and then Carole comes out on her own to release the ‘Tapestry’ album in 1971.”
Tobin, 26, said he was drawn to playing the role of Goffin because it requires a wide range of acting skills.
“Gerry Goffin is a great role in that he has a lot more depth than a lot of characters in traditional musical theater,” Tobin said. “He’s got a lot going on. He’s a pretty troubled guy. He deals with some mental illness and some substance abuse.
“So it’s a nice challenge every night to kind of get into Gerry’s headspace. It’s different from what I would normally play, so it’s a lot of fun.”
Tobin, who has also appeared in “Westside Story” “The Sound of Music” and “Elf,” encouraged everyone to attend “Beautiful – The Carole King Musical.”
“”The music is amazing in the show; so many people have a personal connection to a lot of these songs,” Tobin said. “Everybody knows the music but they may not know Carole’s story, which is one of perseverance, friendship and showing love.
“I feel like it’s a real uplifting story that so many people can relate to. At the end of the show I can look out into the audience and see everyone clapping and dancing and singing along. Everybody just has a great time.”