The musical “Beautiful” about the early life of Carole King has been playing to rave reviews and packed houses in New York but the star of the show had never seen a performance. That changed last Thursday when the legendary pop singer-songwriter surprised the audience and cast by appearing during the curtain call.
King’s refusal to see the box-office hit until now has been personal. The material was simply too painful for her to watch as it follows the dissolution of her first marriage to songwriter Gerry Goffin.
King told Playbill.com, “I already went through this. It’s very painful to live through it again.” Her daughter and manager Sherry Kondor revealed that her mother walked out of the first reading.
The cast were on stage collecting money for the charity Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS when King ventured out on stage and gave the audience a special treat: a rendition of her classic song, ‘You’ve Got a Friend.’
Jessie Meuller who portrays King wept along with several other cast members.
"It was an honor to see Beautiful for the first time last night," King said in a statement afterward. "Jessie Mueller and company are fantastic, and it was so joyous to be there. I couldn't be more proud."
The spirited appeal raised $30,000.