Carole King surprised the Broadway audience at last night’s fifth-anniversary performance of Beautiful, the musical about her journey through the music business, performing the title song that caps the show.
The moment, which recreates King’s triumphant 1971 Carnegie Hall concert, brought audience members to their feet. (See video below.)
After the finale, King joined the cast during the curtain call, appearing alongside Chilina Kennedy, who currently plays the lead role. After King and the cast performed the encore (“I Feel The Earth Move”), she reflected on the phenomenon the show has become.
“What a night!” King said. “It was amazing to be a part of this. This musical has been such a magical experience. To be here and celebrate our fifth anniversary with so much joy and love is amazing.”
In a press release, producers Paul Blake and Mike Bosner described the show as “an experience unlike any other.” They added thanks to the show’s book writer and director, respectively, Douglas McGrath and Marc Bruni, along with the entire creative team, cast and crew.
Beautiful opened on Broadway on January 13, 2014. It has won Tony, Olivier and Grammy awards, grossing nearly $250 million and drawing nearly 2.2 million ticket buyers to date. The lone show from the 2013-14 Broadway season to still be on the boards, it is also the highest-grossing production in the history of the Sondheim Theatre.
With a book by McGrath, direction by Bruni, and choreography by Josh Prince, Beautiful features songs written by Gerry Goffin/Carole King and Barry Mann/Cynthia Weil. Its roster of familiar hits includes “You’ve Got a Friend,” “One Fine Day,” “Up on the Roof,” “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling,” “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” and “Natural Woman.”