Charleston Stage Bring Out the Beautiful in Musical 'Beautiful'

Iconic & Timeless Music of Carole King Comes To Life at The Dock Street Theatre

Jeff Walker,  Entertainment Writer

Dock Street Theatre is one of the most historic playhouses in the country, with Charleston Stage Company committed to providing the best in stage entertainment. That combined excellence is evident in the theatre company's presentation of 'Beautiful: The Carole King Musical. aaaaaaaabeautiful3 1

Long before she embarked on a solo career, Carole King showcased her talents penning legendary songs for the likes of The Drifters, The Shirelles, Bobby Vee, and Aretha Franklin. King's arsenal of songs are literally a soundtrack to the 1960's. Under the skillful direction of Marybeth Clark Charleston Stage bring everything wonderful, and everything 'beautiful' to this production celebrating the legendary singer songwriter.

With an ensemble cast of 20, all who collectively make this musical radiate from the stage and bring a whole lot of youthful energy, five principle characters come to life through the respective actors portraying them.

It wouldn't be a Carole King musical without someone beautiful, whimsical, and charismatic playing the title role. Charleston Stage Resident Actor Eliza Knode is captivating as the young and upcoming composer turned solo artist, who along with her first husband Gerry Goffin wrote some of the most time honored songs in the rock n' roll era. Knode is dazzling, and brings the right amount of enthusiasm and sweet voice to Carole.

Fellow Resident Actor Dominick Ventrella steps nicely into the shoes of Goffin, who along with King wrote several chart topping songs including including 'Will You Love Me Tomorrow', 'Take Good Care of My Baby', and 'The Loco-Motion' for their babysitter Little Eva. Ventrella conveys the proper amount of anxiety and competitive nature that defined the high strung two-timing lyricist.

Kyra McKillip and Brendan Considine are equally believable as the overly ambitious songwriting team of Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann, the same duo that gave pop music 'You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling' by the Righteous Brothers and 'On Broadway' by The Drifters. Their 1965 Top 10 hit 'We Gotta Get Out of This Place' by The Animals proved Mann like Goffin had tired of writing so called teeny-bopper songs, and were trying to keep pace with Bob Dylan and the British Invasion.

High praise for Resident Actor Colin Waters for taking on the coveted role of Don Kirshner, the influential publishing company executive with Aldon Music at 1650 Broadway in New York City. Waters depicts the industry mogul who had an ear for music as pompous, assured, and demanding, all in a somewhat lovingly big brother persona. Well done!

Singing, dancing, drama, shades of comedy, great 60's era costumes, and epic stage design, 'Beautiful' has it all. The ensemble cast members delightfully fill an already stellar production. Kudos to everyone who took part in The Drifters, The Shirelles, The Righteous Brothers, and as Neil Sedaka. Charleston Stage is known for its artistic excellence and in 'Beautiful' they have raised the bar.

Carole King is an American icon. Along with her writing partners she has given the world hundreds of songs that are pop and classic rock staples. She and Goffin seemingly struck a chord with the teenage generation, providing a carefree release during the early Vietnam War era, with King later tapping into songs that resonated with females, such as Aretha Franklin's '(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman'.

Charleston Stage Co. do justice to Beautiful: The Carole King Musical. The cast, the crew, as well as Music Director Sam Henderson and Choreographer Cara Dolan score a musical home-run. Their variation of this decade old yet timeless songfest emanates from the Dock Street Theatre. This is a treat for baby boomers, and quite frankly anyone who craves an enjoyable night at the theatre.

From wannabee Brooklyn teenager to the hallowed stage at Carnegie Hall, 'Beautiful' is the life story of one of America's most treasured singer songwriter. Charleston Stage's rendition is a must see for theatre goers. And I promise you, you'll 'feel the earth move before you leave'. Weekend performances Thurs-Sun (matinees) run through April 28th. For more visit