Carole King Bio-Musical 'Beautiful' Becomes an Official Broadway Hit

Photo Joan Marcus
Jessie Mueller in "Beautiful: The Carole King Musical"

Bucking the trend of a season in which one major show after another closed at a loss, the musical has recouped its $13 million capitalization in 10 months

Chalk up another victory for the Baby Boomers on Broadway.

Following stellar grosses for Motown: The Musical the previous season, and the ongoing traction of the Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons story, Jersey Boys, which is still doing solid business after almost nine years, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical has joined the winners' circle.

Producers on Monday announced that the show has recouped its $13 million initial investment after playing to sellout houses in recent months at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre.

Directed by Marc Bruni and crafted by writer Douglas McGrath around a string of pop hits by King, Gerry Goffin, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, the musical began previews on Nov. 21 and officially opened on Jan. 12.

Reviews were mixed-to-positive overall, elevated by glowing notices for Jessie Mueller's luminous turn as King, tracing the singer-songwriter's arc from shy Brooklyn girl to voice of a generation. That performance won Mueller this year's Tony Award for lead actress in a musical.

The show opened to promising sales but gained significant momentum during Tony season, particularly after Carole King herself paid an impromptu visit to catch a performance. It has grossed north of $1 million every week since mid-April, with cumulative box office to date of $42.7 million.

"Beautiful has become a bona fide phenomenon, and we couldn't be more pleased and proud," said Paul Blake, lead producer on the show with Sony/ATV Music Publishing.

A London production of the musical is in the works, scheduled to open at the West End's Aldwych Theatre in February, while a U.S. national tour is due to launch in Sept. 2015, including a stop at the Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles.

The Carole King bio is the first of the 2013-14 season musicals to move into profit. A number of other shows for which commercial expectations were high, including Rocky, The Bridges of Madison County, Big Fish and Bullets Over Broadway, all pulled the plug early after disappointing sales.