Carole King is one of the most celebrated musical artists of all time, lending her distinct voice and songwriting genius to smash hits such as “You’ve Got a Friend,” “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” and “Natural Woman.”
But more than just being commercially successful and revered, King is a personification of an empowered woman who rose above many adversities in her career and personal life. Her stories, along with some of the best songs from her discography, will be the centerpiece of “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical.”
Based on Douglas McGrath’s book, the musical tells the inspiring true story of King’s remarkable journey from teenage songwriter to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. From the string of pop classics she wrote for the biggest acts in music, to her own life-changing, chart-busting success with “Tapestry,” “Beautiful” takes you back to where it all began.
An empowered woman
The Tony, Olivier and Grammy Award-winning musical stars Kayla Rivera who will play the titular role. Kayla made her professional musical theater debut playing Nina Rosario in Atlantis’ acclaimed staging of “In The Heights” in 2011. She has also played Princess Jasmine in Disney’s “Aladdin,” Carrie White in “Carrie,” Wednesday Addams in “The Addams’ Family,” Sherrie in “Rock of Ages,” and Violet Hilton in “Side Show.”
When asked if a certain event that broke King’s heart in the musical can be considered a tragedy or an empowering moment, Rivera said that it’s “totally empowering” as the pain that King went through then pushed her to step out of her comfort zone and transform herself into a powerhouse singer-songwriter who bagged four Grammy awards in 1972 for her album “Tapestry.”
Rivera has also described King as a woman who is driven, confident, and optimistic – characteristics that should inspire women across the globe. King’s character, as well as the stories that molded it to what it is today, is definitely an image that Zonta International, an organization that aims to empower underprivileged women, would want its beneficiaries to aspire to. For Zonta to continue its mission, this year, it’s raising money for its endowment fund through this musical. Having known this effort, Rivera said that she feels even more honored to be part of the musical.
Joining Rivera in the musical is Nick Varricchio who will play King’s husband and writing partner, Gerry Goffin. Varricchio was last seen onstage in Manila as Double J in Atlantis’ touring production of “Saturday Night Fever.” Mikkie Bradshaw-Volante, last seen on the Atlantis stage as Lauren in Kinky Boots, will play Cynthia Weil, Carole’s friend and rival. George Schulze, last seen as Earl in “Waitress,” will play Barry Mann.
Meanwhile, Gab Pangilinan, currently starring in “Ang Huling El Bimbo,” will play the lead singer of The Shirelles and Marilyn Wald. Jill Peña, who last appeared in “Side Show” plays one of the Shirelles and Janelle Woods. Teetin Villanueva, who previously appeared in “Waitress,” will play Little Eva and one of the Shirelles. Maronne Cruz, fresh from her critically acclaimed performance as Dawn in “Waitress,” will be playing Betty, Carole’s childhood best friend. Among the actors who will be playing The Drifters are; Tim Pavino, who recently played the title role in “Miong”; Arman Ferrer, who last appeared in “Side Show”; Jep Go, who recently appeared in “Eto Na! Musikal nAPO!; and Markus Mann, last seen as Judas in “Godspell” in Florida. Nelsito Gomez, who recently concluded his critically acclaimed turn as Louis in “Angels in America,” will play a number of roles including Neil Sedaka. Rhenwyn Gabalonzo, who last appeared in “Kinky Boots”, will play one of the Righteous Brothers. Joining them are Gabby Padilla, Dean Rosen and Alex Reyes.
Also joining the cast are theatre veterans Jamie Wilson and Carla Guevara-Laforteza. They were previously seen in “Ang Huling El Bimbo.” Don Kirshner and Genie Klein are also part of the musical.
“Beautiful: The Carole King Musical,” will run at the Meralco Theater, Pasig City from June 14 to July 7, 2019, and is directed by Bobby Garcia in celebration of Atlantis Theatrical’s 20th anniversary season.
For tickets, visit www.ticketworld.com.ph or call 891-9999. The musical is presented by Atlantis Theatrical Entertainment Group and ABS-CBN.