Beautiful - The Carole King Musical leading lady Molly-Grace Cutler tells us all about what it's like to play the musical icon.
Are you ready to feel the earth move? Beautiful – The Carole King Musical arrives in Coventry this November!
Ahead of the show taking over our Main Stage, we caught up with star Molly-Grace Cutler, who steps into the shoes of one of the most celebrated singer-songwriters of all time.
What can audiences expect when they come see the show?
It’s done by a full company of live musicians, which is very different to the original Broadway and West End productions and previous tours. It’s a really feel-good musical. It’s emotional and very heartwarming, to say the least.
How would you describe Carole King as a character? And do you feel any pressure about bringing her to life on stage?
She’s an incredible music icon. She’s very driven and very determined, and you get to see how resilient she is as her story goes on.
As for feeling the pressure, yes there’s a lot of that – especially given that she’s still to this day a living legend. But I’m very happy that I’m getting to play her and her music.
The big challenge is playing someone who is still around, so people will inevitably compare you to her, as well as other people who have played the role before. It’s about doing your own thing, whilst also paying respect to Carole herself.
How did you research the role?
When we started rehearsals I watched as many interviews as I could find, although there isn’t a lot because she’s notoriously shy. But the ones that I did find were very helpful. Then I watched clips of her performing and thankfully there are a lot more of those than there are interviews.
How easy was it to nail the songs during rehearsals?
She’s a great pop songwriter and that’s similar to what I’m used to performing. She’s very specific in her technique and the way she writes so it was fun to get into her way of playing. And I was already a fan. I had her Tapestry album on vinyl from when I was a kid. My granddad gave it to me when I was seven or eight years old so I’ve been listening to her music for a long time.
She wrote so much for so many other singers and musicians. A lot of people don’t realise how much music she actually wrote and who she wrote for. That’s a great thing in the show, that you get to see how much she contributed to the music industry.
The cast of Beautiful - The Carole King Musical. Photo by Ellie Kurttz.
From researching the role, is there anything you were surprised or intrigued to learn about her?
[Laughs] That she married many times after Gerry Goffin. I also learned she was incredibly resilient and let nothing stand in the way of her success. She wrote from the heart, and that’s evident in every song she’s ever written. They’re very emotional.
There are so many great numbers in the show. Do you have any favourites to perform?
I’d have to say (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman because it’s such an honest, emotional song about her relationship with Gerry.
Molly-Grace Cutler (Carole King) and Tom Milner (Gerry Goffin). Photo by Ellie Kurttz.
As an actor and musician, it must be great getting to bring all your skills to the table?
Absolutely. We’re very lucky that we have such a talented cast of actors and musicians who create this amazing sound. Being an actor-musician is what I trained to do, but I think these kind of productions are still pretty new for the theatre industry, which is why I’m excited to share it with people.
What are you most enjoying about taking Beautiful around the country?
It’s about getting to share some incredible music with people who don’t necessarily realise just how much they love it until they hear it played live. That’s an absolute joy, as is getting to share Carole’s story.
A lot of people don’t know enough about her, so it’s nice to show what she went through and how much she’s achieved. I love her. She’s amazing.