Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, one of the most popular Broadway shows in recent seasons and the rare jukebox musical as beloved by critics as by audiences, will end its nearly six-year Broadway run on October 27, producers announced tonight.
Based on the songs of its titular pop legend and her inner circle, Beautiful earned seven Tony nominations in 2014 and won a pair, including one for lead actress Jessie Mueller. The musical will close having played 2,418 regular performances and 60 previews. It’s Broadway’s second-longest-running bio-musical and the longest-running and highest-grossing show in the Stephen Sondheim Theatre’s history.
The production recouped its $13 million capitalization within nine months, but even it wasn’t immune to a generally tough summer for Broadway. In recent weeks, Beautiful has been grossing at about half, or just above half, of its $994,804 weekly potential. Although the summer has been hard on newer shows — with recent or recently announced closings including King Kong, The Cher Show, Pretty Woman, The Prom, Be More Chill, Hillary and Clinton, King Lear, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus and Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune – popular long-runners like Beautiful and Waitress have felt some of the doldrums, though both of those musicals remain among the biggest hits of recent Broadway seasons.
Directed by Marc Bruni from a book by Douglas McGrath and with choreography by Josh Prince, Beautiful follows the tapestry of King’s rise to stardom — from being part of a hit songwriting team with her husband Gerry Goffin to her relationship with fellow writers and rivals/best friends Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann to becoming a hugely successful solo act. Read Deadline’s original Broadway review here.
The show spotlights songs written by King, Goffin, Mann and Weil — from such early hits as “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” “Up on the Roof” and “The Locomotion” through mid-’60s classics “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” and “Pleasant Valley Sunday” through King’s smash Tapestry album with “So Far Away,” “You’ve Got a Friend” and “It’s Too Late.”
Beautiful spawned a national tour that’s in its fifth year — including a run at Pantages in Hollywood last year — and productions in the UK, Japan and Australia. Its cast album won the Grammy in 2015, the same year producers Tom Hanks, Gary Goetzman and Paul Blake announced a film adaptation of the show for Sony Pictures in 2016.
Greg Evans and Patrick Hipes contributed to this report.