Broadway in Fort Lauderdale has announced the Tony & Grammy Award-winning Broadway hit Beautiful—The Carole King Musical, about the early life and career of the legendary and groundbreaking singer/songwriter, will make its Fort Lauderdale return to the Broward Center for the Performing Arts for five performances June 17-19.
Long before she was Carole King, chart-topping music legend, she was Carol Klein, Brooklyn girl with passion and chutzpah. She fought her way into the record business as a teenager and, by the time she reached her twenties, had the husband of her dreams and a flourishing career writing hits for the biggest acts in rock ‘n’ roll. But it wasn’t until her personal life began to crack that she finally managed to find her true voice. Beautiful tells the inspiring true story of King’s remarkable rise to stardom, from being part of a hit songwriting team with her husband Gerry Goffin, to her relationship with fellow writers and best friends Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann, to becoming one of the most successful solo acts in popular music history. Along the way, she made more than beautiful music, she wrote the soundtrack to a generation.
Beautiful features a stunning array of beloved songs written by Gerry Goffin/Carole King and Barry Mann/Cynthia Weil, including “I Feel The Earth Move,” “One Fine Day,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” “You’ve Got A Friend” and the title song.
“We are humbled that over five million audience members worldwide have been entertained by our celebration of Carole’s story and her timeless music” said producer Paul Blake.
On Broadway, the show was seen by almost 2,200,000 audience members (including, quite famously, King herself) and is the longest-running and highest-grossing show in the history of the Stephen Sondheim Theatre. The Original Broadway Cast Recording of Beautiful – The Carole King Musical (Ghostlight Records) won the 2015 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album and is available on CD, digitally, and on vinyl. Sony Pictures has announced that the film adaptation of Beautiful will be produced by Tom Hanks, Gary Goetzman, and Paul Blake.
It was a pleasure to sit down with Sara Shepard who plays Carole King for this exclusive Hotspots Interview.
At what age did you begin performing?
When I was about 5 I started taking theater classes in my community theater in Toledo Ohio.
What was your first paid gig?
It honestly may have been the role I got my equity card from in St Louis at The Muny. I couldn’t believe I got paid to do what I love.
When did you know performing would be your career?
I knew my freshman year of high school that this was something I really want to do. My sister is a musical Theater major also, so I knew this was something that could be accomplished.
Other than this show, what has been your favorite show or role so far?
I would have to say when I played Fanny Brice in Funny Girl, in Chicago at the Drury Lane Theater for three months. It’s such an incredible role to dig your heels into. It was a blast!
What’s your fantasy role (a role you haven’t played but want to)?
I would say Lucille Frank in Parade.
What did you do/accomplish during the quarantine part of the pandemic?
To be very honest, not a whole lot. Beautiful closed the fall of 2019, and I was in the show for 6 years. I took it as a sign to chill out and binged a lot of TV. I also spent a lot of time with my family and my boyfriend and animals.
Is there additional pressure performing in this show since Carole King is so iconic?
I think I try not to put that pressure on myself. When I step on stage, I try to be the truest version of myself, as Carole is so true. The producers don’t give us any pressure to sound like Carole as that would add a lot of pressure. I try to sing and feel the words in those incredible songs.
Describe yourself in three words?
Joyful, grounded, and humorous.
What do you do for fun?
I love to run, and I am a basketball player. I also love binge watching great TV, and I am a foodie, so I love to eat great food.
What’s the best and worst things about being on the road?
The best thing, especially with this show, is bringing the show to smaller communities who may not have a chance to see something of this caliber. The worst is the constant travel, as its hard on your body and your voice.
How hard is it to be away from your boyfriend?
It’s very challenging. We also have two dogs and a cat. We try and facetime as frequently as we can, and we still feel like we are connected.
What should our readers expect from this touring company of “Beautiful”?
Well, I always say you may not always think you know Carole Kings song, but I guarantee you will know most of the songs. In addition, you will see an incredible story, with iconic music. This cast is next level amazing and tells the story so well you will leave the theater with so much joy.
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For more information on Sara, go to: Instagram.com/@shepnailsit
Tickets are available at BrowardCenter.org, by phone at 954.462.0222 or by visiting the Broward Center’s AutoNation Box Office at 201 SW Fifth Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, FL. 33312. Ticket prices start at $30.