For more than six decades, the music of Carole King has been influencing the lives of musicians and audiences alike with sounds and sentiments that are nothing short of beautiful.
Now, audiences can follow the history of this impressive icon in a production as remarkable as its leading lady’s career when Tuacahn opens the Broadway musical aptly titled Beautiful: The Carole King Musical in the indoor Hafen Theatre on June 30.
“I’ve been hoping to get Beautiful here at Tuacahn ever since I saw it on Broadway,” said Shari Jordan, associate artistic producer for Tuacahn. “It’s a show that everyone knows the music, even if they didn’t realize Carole King wrote it. Once the word gets out, I think people will be flocking to see it.”
Tackling the title role at Tuacahn is Sara Sheperd, who performed as part of the Beautiful cast on Broadway and in the national tour, including taking the stage several times as the understudy to Carole King. Even after being immersed in the script and music for so many years, Sheperd said she never tires of the score that includes timeless classics like “I Feel the Earth Move Under My Feet,” “Natural Woman” and more.
“There is just something about the story and those songs that is just joyful,” Sheperd said. “It’s fascinating to witness her journey and the ending is a triumphant, joyful outcome that never gets old.”
Although Beautiful features a combination of music written by, and performed by, King and her contemporaries, the structure of the story is less of a jukebox musical, and more of a bio- musical that follows the early days of King’s writing career and highlights some of her most beloved pieces of music.
“What draws everyone in is this is a really good story that is well told,” said David Ruttura, co- director and choreographer for Beautiful.
Ruttura also comes from a long background with the Broadway and national tour for the production, giving him a unique ability to recreate the Broadway version on a Southern Utah stage.
“We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel. We’re trying to deliver Tuacahn a slice of what the show was like on Broadway,” Ruttura said. “Obviously there are some slight differences here and there that we’ve learned along the way, but essentially, the show you’ll see is what New Yorkers and tourists from around the world enjoyed for six years of its Broadway run.”
Now that Beautiful has been released to regional theaters, it’s been performed on stages varying widely in size and scope. But Ruttura said the smaller, intimate feel of the indoor Hafen Theatre is the perfect way to experience this musical.
“It’s a small, intimate story. You really want to find ways to bring the show into the laps of the audience so they can almost reach out and touch it,” Ruttura said. “My favorite part is watching these incredible performers perform these amazing songs like ‘On Broadway’ and ‘Up on the Roof’ that are truly touchstones for different periods. They manage to both honor past decades and have a contemporary feel that is so fresh and current.”
Beautiful: The Carole King Musical takes place June 30 to Aug. 19 in the indoor Hafen Theatre at Tuacahn. For tickets and more information log onto www.tuacahn.org or call the box office at 435-652-3300. And don’t miss any of the amazing musicals this season, including Tarzan, Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Irving Berlin’s White Christmas the Musical.