Reviewed by Trish Bramhall
Last night (Tuesday 6 February 2018), me and my sister-in-law went to see The Carole King Musical ‘Beautiful’ at the Lyceum Theatre in Sheffield.
Arriving early for the show we enjoyed a drink in the bar area and looked through the shows programme. The bar area very soon became very full of men and women some of which seemed excited to be there.
The Lyceum has 1068 seats and from what I could see there was only a couple of seats spare. The stage looked fab and the music began.
Since a very young age Carole had been very interested in music, and by the age of 16 she tells her mother that she wants to be a songwriter. But her mother says this isn’t practical ‘girls don’t like music!’, you need to carry on with your study’s and become a teacher. After a bit of persuasion Carole tells her mother she is going to see a guy who has a song writing business, so off she goes and meets Donnie Kirshner, he is impressed with the 16-year-old and says he knows people he can get to sing her songs. She needs to come back with more ideas and when she does well she can have her own office in his business.
Carole is a very good composer but sometimes feels she struggles to find the correct words to fit the music… But she meets Gerry Guffin at Queens College, he is a bit of a lad! But a very talented songwriter and before you know it they are an item. And with Carole’s music ideas and Gerry’s song writing they become a great songwriting team, and in 1959 after she discovers she is pregnant they marry.
Carole’s first hit song ‘Will You Love Me Tomorrow’ is recorded by The Shirelles. A song about a woman who has given herself to her lover completely. This song was a massive hit!
Carole and Gerry sign up with Donnie Kirshner and become part of his writing business.
The musical continues, and we meet Cynthia Well and Barry Mann who also team up to also become songwriter’s and also best friends of Carole and Gerry.
The two couples try to complete though to get No 1 songs in the charts.
Carole and Gerry have a nanny Eva who they know has a good voice they ask her to sing a demo of one of the songs. ‘The Locomotion’. This becomes a big hit and it meant the couple had to find a new nanny as she becomes a star.
Gerry went onto have an affair with Eva, and left Carole. Carole loved him dearly and eventually he realized he wanted Carole back soon they get back together and had another baby.
The songwriting continued and the couple had a great career. Writing for people like The Drifters, The Shirelles and The Monkeys etc… Songs like Up on the Roof, Take Good Care of My Baby, One Fine Day, You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling and many many more.
Songs through the musical really bring this true story to life. Carole and Gerry finally split after he has another affair and Carole decides to movie away with the children. The song ‘It’s Too Late’ and ‘You’ve Got A Friend’ are sang and as you listen to all the words you realise how true all the words in all Carole’s songs relate to her life.
So off to LA she goes. And makes it really big there and even on her first night performance Cynthia, Barry, Donnie, and even Gerry show up to watch her.
Wow! What an enjoyable evening! A fantastic musical with extremely talented singers. They really brought this interesting true story to life. Fantastic music played. Fantastic costumes… Did people really wear flares like that? And Oh! you don’t see dance moves like that anymore.
Tickets cost from £24.50 to £48 (booking fees may apply).
Beautiful: The Carole King Musical is at the Lyceum Theatre in Sheffield from 6-10 February 2018, for more information or to book tickets visit www.sheffieldtheatres.co.uk or call the box office on 0114 249 6000.
Lyceum Theatre, Norfolk St, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S1 1DA | 0114 249 6000