Judging by the excited audience opening weekend you may want to get your tickets as soon as possible
The John W. Engeman Theatre does it again with a stellar offering of Beautiful, the Carole King Musical. Boasting an extraordinarily talented cast, the expertly directed (and choreographed) Paul Stancato production runs through October 29th at the exquisite Northport venue. And judging by the excited audience opening weekend you may want to get your tickets as soon as possible.
With a gripping book by Douglas McGrath, the score is a collection of Ms. King's biggest songs... some of the biggest in pop culture. The story, an emotional roller coaster, delves into King's early life including her relationship with her mother to meeting collaborator and eventual husband Gerry Goffin (Jack Cahill-Lemme) as well as others that she met throughout her career. It is a truly enthralling story and you will be amazed how many songs you may be acquainted with.
Among the gorgeous cast, Stephanie Lynne Mason masterfully portrays the music icon. Ms. Mason's brilliant performance brings thunderous applause throughout the two-act show. Among the favorites are "So Far Away", "Some Kind Of Wonderful", "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow", and, of course, the timeless "(You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman". In truth, the audience was very enthusiastic at each performance. Cece Morin, as Little Eva, does an amazing version of "The Locomotion" and you will adore The Drifters' (portrayed by Cory Simmons, Damien DeShaun Smith, Dwayne Washington, and Leron Wellington) performance of "On Broadway". The entire company is absolutely top notch.
On the clever creative team, Kyle Dixon's thrilling set is well done. Indeed this is heightened by Jose Santiago's beautiful lighting design and Andy Leviss' excellent sound design. Special kudos also to Dustin Cross (Costume Designer) and Jeff Knaggs (Wig Designer) on the spectacular looks as we travel through Carole's years. We follow King from a high school student in 1958 through her spectacular Carnegie Hall performance in 1971. These looks are a great, relevant indicator of the times as we venture through the story. And, of course, there is nothing like an electrifying live orchestra, this one masterfully conducted by Nathan Dame.
And so, The John W. Engeman Theatre's stunning incarnation of Beautiful, The Carole King Musical is certainly a fabulous way to kick off the Fall season. To learn a little about a pillar of the music industry is always a treat. A heart tugging story, some of the greatest music there is, and the fantastic Engeman Theatre makes for a great night of theatre.