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Beautiful: The Carole King Musical will make its Penn State debut in February 2019

by on May 01, 2018 8:40 AM

The headlining attraction in the Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State’s 2018-19 season is the tale of a shy Brooklynite who, beginning in her teens, shares her gift for writing chart-topping pop songs.

The touring Broadway production of Beautiful: The Carole King Musical will be on stage at Eisenhower Auditorium for seven performances February 19–24. The show chronicles the true story of a woman’s journey from teenage songwriter to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

“It’s hardly a surprise that the songs in ‘Beautiful—The Carole King Musical’ are some kind of wonderful,” writes a critic for the New York Daily News. “King made magic with her catalogue and it is an unqualified treat to hear her best-known hits—‘Some Kind of Wonderful,’ ‘One Fine Day,’ ‘So Far Away’ and so many others—performed live.”

The show “emerges as a slick and joyous celebration of female empowerment,” writes an Entertainment Weekly reviewer. “Like ‘Jersey Boys,’ ‘Beautiful’ features a smart, well-crafted, and often funny book (by Douglas McGrath) that cleverly threads together a memorable catalog of early rock hits …”

The musical chronicles a dozen years from the late 1950s to the early 1970s, when King met and married lyricist Gerry Goffin. Professionally, the couple was gold. Personally, their relationship was anything but roses.

Beautiful is a must-see if you’re a King fan, or you’re fascinated by the music business during a potent time when chart hits were coming out of cubicles in places like the Brill Building and 1650 Broadway, where King and husband Gerry Goffin set up shop,” reports an NBC New York reviewer.

The musical is all the more absorbing because it includes portrayals of Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann, rival songwriters and friends of King-Goffin. In addition to King-Goffin collaborations, Beautiful features hits such as “On Broadway” and “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” penned by Weil-Mann.

“… Songs flow naturally. After King begins singing ‘Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow,’ [actresses portraying] the Shirelles in all their glam glory take over,” notes the Daily News writer. “The same pattern follows for the Drifters and the Righteous Brothers and others. The group numbers recall other jukebox shows, but they’re energizing.”

The emotional core of Beautiful comes from King’s transformation from a young woman seemingly content to fulfill traditional roles as a wife and a mother to a reluctant singer who becomes a powerful voice of her generation through the album Tapestry.

“If there’s one song among a dozen to hum on the way out of ‘Beautiful,’” writes a Newsday critic, “it should be ‘Will You (Still) Love Me Tomorrow,’ exemplifying both the professional and personal side of this Gershwin Prize-winning genius.”


Tickets for Beautiful go on sale May 14 to Center for the Performing Arts members and May 21 to the public. For details, go to or phone (814) 863-0255.

John Mark Rafacz is the editorial manager of the Center for the Performing Arts.




John Mark Rafacz is the editorial manager of the Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State.
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