Jessie Mueller to play Carole King in Broadway ‘Beautiful’

New York-bound musical shows potential to click with boomer audiences

Beautiful,” the incoming Broadway bio-musical of Carole King featuring tunes from the singer-songwriter’s canon, has found its Carole, with Jessie Mueller tapped to topline the production.

Mueller turned heads in Gotham in 2011 as the standout element in the short-lived Broadway revival of “On a Clear Day I Can See Forever,” and more recently played a stint as the female lead in “Nice Work If You Can Get It.” She’ll travel with “Beautiful” to San Francisco this fall, where the title plays a tryout run before it opens at the Rialto’s Stephen Sondheim Theater in January.

With a book by scribe and filmmaker Douglas McGrath (“Emma,” “Nicholas Nickleby”), “Beautiful” follows King’s early life from her Brooklyn childhood to her career as a songwriter for major music acts. Score for the tuner will be drawn from a catalog of tunes penned by King and writing partner/husband Gerry Goffin as well as from the songbook of duo Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil.

“Beautiful” seems to have the potential to click with the same boomer audience that made “Jersey Boys,” another musical with a strong appeal to the older-skewing Broadway demographic, such a hit. “Motown,” currently ringing in big numbers in the wake of its spring opening, also underscores the potential rewards of bringing familiar tunes to Broadway. Like “Beautiful,” both “Jersey Boys” and “Motown” use recognizable songs to chronicle the lives of the creatives who penned and performed those songs.

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Helmed by Marc Bruni and choreographed by Josh Prince, “Beautiful” runs Sept. 24-Oct. 20 at the the Curran Theater in San Francisco prior to its stint on Broadway, where the show begins previews Nov. 21 prior to a Jan. 12 opening. Paul Blake and Sony/ATV Music Publishing produce.

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