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The Battalion

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The Battalion

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Broadway returns to Aggieland with ‘Beautiful — The Carole King Musical’

The+Carole+King+musical+is+set+to+return+to+Aggieland+on+Friday%2C+Feb.+4.
Photo by Photo courtesy of MSC OPAS

The Carole King musical is set to return to Aggieland on Friday, Feb. 4.

After two years of dimmed lights and an empty stage, Broadway is heading back to Rudder Auditorium.
The Tony and Grammy Award-winning hit “Beautiful — The Carole King Musical” portraying the early life and career of the singer-songwriter is the second of five big musicals scheduled for the Memorial Student Center Opera and Performing Arts Society’s “Let’s Get Together” 2021-22 season, and the first of the new year. The show will have three performances in Rudder Auditorium: Feb. 4 at 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 5 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Sara Shepard currently plays Carole King in the national tour of “Beautiful.” Shepard was an original Broadway cast member and said her journey with the show is running almost a decade.
“My experience with this show has been so special because it really feels like a full-circle moment happening in my life right now,” Shepard said in an email to The Battalion. “I understudied Carole and went on often on Broadway, and now to be able to step into the role full time all these years later is so exciting and I am so grateful for the opportunity. My favorite part about ‘Beautiful,’ besides doing the show because that is always a blast, is the people. ‘Beautiful’ has always had a way of finding incredibly talented humans, and also incredibly kind humans. It is not an exaggeration when I say the people who have come in and out of ‘Beautiful’ are family.”
Shepard said the musical feels special to her for many reasons.
“Being a part of something for so long in this business is so rare I feel, and I have so many memories wrapped up in this show,” Sheppard said. “I have seen cast [and crew] members get married, have babies, go through divorces, deal with death, just have huge life moments because we have all shared so much life together. I mean, we are with each other more than we are with our own families.
“So, to share in such intimate moments with these people will always be something I hold close to my heart. I love standing on that stage as Carole and knowing exactly what is going on around me because at some point I was either teaching those parts to someone else or playing them myself. It’s this very cool, full understanding of the piece that I have, and I absolutely love it.”
Shepard said she is excited for the A&M community to see the show and walk away with some joy in their hearts.
“This has been and is such a trying time, and this show really allows you to escape for a little bit,” Shepard said. “It is filled with incredible tunes and a story that pulls you right in. I want people to come out of that theatre filled with hope and optimism.”
MSC OPAS student committee chair Edith Gonzalez Brizuela said the committee is excited to see the turnout for the musical, especially since “Beautiful” is having three performances rather than two.
“We welcomed back Broadway shows into Rudder with ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,’ but that one was more family based,” Gonzalez Brizuela said. “We’re expecting a lot of patrons to come in. My executive team and I have been hyping up the rest of the student committee and getting them excited for it too because all that we do is based around volunteering and giving back to the community of Brazos Valley and to anyone that comes into town from wherever, they may come from just to watch shows.”
Gonzalez Brizuela said she, and the rest of the student committee, wants to provide an enjoyable and memorable experience when guests see a performance from MSC OPAS.
“We make sure that our professionalism is top notch and to embrace and share the love of the performing arts that we have as students with the patrons coming,” Gonzalez Brizuela said. “We are expecting to put our best foot forward and follow all COVID[-19] guidelines and make sure that we can create a safe environment for people to still enjoy this performance. From the moment they park their car, we’re trying to make everything accessible and have them enjoy the whole experience.”
Bringing the MSC OPAS student committee together to work on something they are passionate about, and to celebrate Carole King together is what Gonzalez Brizuela said are her favorite parts of preparing for “Beautiful.”
“We like to get ready and get into the energy of things by putting playlists together on Spotify with Carole King songs, it’s all really fun at the end of the day,” Gonzalez Brizuela said. “This musical is special to a lot of us because Carole King, 50 years later, still is a big icon to pop music and musical history has made a huge impact and paved the way of rock and pop music from the late ‘60s, early ‘70s. We’re very grateful to celebrate the influence she has and to share and rejoice and enjoy the community of music by bringing generations together.”
According to a press release from OPAS, “Beautiful” features an array of beloved songs written by Gerry Goffin/Carole King and Barry Mann/Cynthia Weil. According to the release, when the Broadway production of “Beautiful — The Carole King Musical” ended its run on Broadway in 2019 after nearly six years, it played 60 previews and 2,418 regular performances. MSC OPAS Executive Director Anne Black said the show has all the bells and whistles a Broadway fan or Carole King fan could ask for.
“It really is a celebration of the life and career of a remarkable American singer, songwriter and musician. Carole King’s songs are the soundtrack to a generation. Truly, this one is not to be missed,” Black said.
Tickets are on sale now starting at $30 at the MSC Box Office and online at www.MSCOPAS.org, with special ticket prices available for students.

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