Roger Rocka’s presents Beautiful: The Carole King Musical

Local company performs award winning musical
Roger Rockas presents Beautiful: The Carole King Musical
Meilani Gilmore Young

The most current show at Fresno’s own Roger Rocka’s Dinner Theater is “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical.” This is a jukebox show based on the life of Carole King and her biography written by Dougless McGrath. Before the show’s debut on the Fresno stage, the show was originally performed on Broadway from 2013-2019. “Beautiful” has received several awards including two Tony Awards. 

Before “Beautiful” began, Good Company Players performed the pre-show. This was a group of 10-15 dancers, ages 16 and under. They were all excellent singers and dancers. I could tell by watching what they did, it was well rehearsed and all of the youth actors loved what they were doing, which made their performance even more enjoyable. 

The opening scene drew me in immediately when Carole King, played by Meg Clark, came on stage and sang the first song, “So Far Away.” It started as a monologue and turned into a song. 

The storyline follows Carole King’s life from a teenager through adulthood. She found her own way into the record business with her unique ability to write the arrangements. As she reaches her twenties, she gets married and has two children. Throughout her career, she wrote more than 100 songs and is considered one of the most successful female songwriters of that time.

The story unfolds chronologically and is very straightforward. The show was interesting and engaging. This helped the audience to feel and see this very young and new songwriter become one of the best female singer-songwriters of her generation – and quite possibly in the world. For these reasons, I would give the storyline and plot 4.5 stars.

Throughout the entire show, the performers engaged the audience with their singing and choreography, highlighting numerous plot twists to keep the audience enthralled. It never became stale or boring. Being a low-tier actor myself, I commend them for being able to achieve something like this. I would give the actor’s performance 5 stars.

The play is considered a jukebox musical, which is a stage musical or musical film in which a majority of the songs are well-known popular music songs, rather than original music. Some jukebox musicals use a wide variety of songs, while others confine themselves to songs performed by one singer or band, or written by one songwriter. The style of this musical itself was 1950s retro, and that was well interpreted throughout both acts. I really enjoyed the jukebox aspect of this musical so I would give the style and interpretation 5 stars.

Some of the songs performed in this musical are “You’ve Got a Friend,” “One Fine Day,” “So Far Away,” “Take Good Care of My Baby,” “Up on the Roof,” “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling,” “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” and “Natural Woman.” All of these songs were written by Carole King and her husband Gerry Goffin.

The costumes were well-made and were extremely flashy. They represented the time frame well. Some of them were flexible to allow for more physical choreography, which included several intricate dance scenes. They did a phenomenal job fitting the time frame. I would give the costumes 5 stars.

The sets were surprisingly basic for a show of this magnitude and style, but they worked well with the musical. The props were simple but effective and they gave you a feeling of where you were at the time and place of each scene. The set changes were many but they were unnaturally quick. They were changing from scene to scene in about 10 seconds. I would give the sets of the show 3.5 stars, I liked them but I felt they could have done more with the immersion levels.

Beautiful – The Carole King Musical is available at Roger Rocka’s through March 10th. (Roger Rockas)

Overall, this musical was amazing, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. I would recommend “Beautiful” to others, however, it is rated PG-13. The theater experience itself was very positive. Roger Rocka’s had a very welcoming atmosphere. Serving dinner before the show offers guests a unique experience and an opportunity to get comfortable before the show. During intermission, dessert is also served, giving guests something to enjoy while the performers prepare for the second act.  

If you are interested in seeing “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical,” visit Roger Rocka’s for tickets and more information. It will be showing from January 11 – March 10. 

For more from The Feather visit, Editorial: Black History still matters or New ‘Percy Jackson and the Olympians’ show excites fans

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About the Contributors
Noah Geil
Noah Geil, Video Journalist
Noah Geil, 25‘, is a junior at Fresno Christian Schools, Geil works with The Feather at school and this is his first year working with this team. He really enjoys acting whether it's live or taped. He joined the team to learn more about the art of media. He looks forward to learning more about videography.
Meilani Gilmore Young
Meilani Gilmore Young is a senior at Fresno Christian Schools and the Arts and Entertainment Editor for the Feather Online. She is an avid reader, movie enthusiast, and music fanatic. When she’s not leading the Track and Field team she is planning her next adventure or mapping out her next meal. In the future, Gilmore Young hopes to pursue a career in history and study film. 
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