Producers of the hit Broadway musical Beautiful – The Carole King Musical have announced that Chilina Kennedy will return to the role of the singer-songwriter starting January 3, 2019. Kennedy has played the part in both the Broadway and Toronto productions, having delivered powerhouse performances of the titular character an astounding 1,000 plus times. The announcement comes as Beautiful – The Carole King Musical prepares to celebrate its 5th Anniversary on Broadway. Kennedy will follow current star Abby Mueller who will play her final performance on Sunday, December 30.
Among Kennedy’s myriad credits outside of her tenure with Beautiful, are Mary Magdalene in Des McAnuff’s Broadway revival of Jesus Christ Superstar. She played Sophie in the First National Tour of Mamma Mia! Among her regional credits, Kennedy has played Pheobe D’Ysquith in A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder (Connecticut and San Diego Critics Circle nominations), Evangeline in Evangeline (original production and album), and Ross Petty’s panto The Little Mermaid (Toronto Theatre Critics’ Award).
Kennedy joins a cast that currently includes Evan Todd as Gerry Goffin, Kate Reinders as Cynthia Weil, Ben Jacoby as Barry Mann, Paul Anthony Stewart as Don Kirshner, Tony Award nominee Liz Larsen as Genie Klein, and an ensemble that includes TyNia Brandon, Gabrielle Elisabeth, Matt Faucher, Alex Hairston, Mike Longo, Douglas Lyons, Stephanie Martignetti, Jay McKenzie, Paris Nix, Elena Ricardo, Nathan Scherich, Housso Semon, Sara Sheperd, Michael Stiggers, Yasmeen Sulieman, Salisha Thomas, Daniel Torres, and Melvin Tunstall.
Beautiful – The Carole King Musical draws from the extensive catalog of popular radio hits written by singer-songwriter Carole King with Gerry Goffin and by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil. Using these iconic melodies, book writer Douglas McGrath fashioned a musical biography of the Grammy-winning music sensation. Among the songs in the score are “You’ve Got a Friend,” “One Fine Day,” “Up on the Roof,” “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling,” “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” and “Natural Woman.” Beautiful – The Carole King Musical is directed by Marc Bruni, with choreography by Josh Prince.
Beautiful – The Carole King Musical opened at Broadway’s Stephen Sondheim Theatre on January 12, 2014. It was nominated for seven Tony Awards, taking home wins for Sound Design and Best Actress in a Musical (Jessie Mueller). The musical’s original cast album won a Grammy Award for Best Musical Theatre Album in 2015.
Mark Robinson is the author of the two-volume encyclopedia The World of Musicals, The Disney Song Encyclopedia, and The Encyclopedia of Television Theme Songs. He maintains a theater and entertainment blog at markrobinsonwrites.com.