Esther Hannaford to Play Carole King
As music icon Carole King celebrates her 75th birthday, the Broadway musical based on her rise to stardom has announced its leading lady.
Multi-award winning musical theatre star Esther Hannaford will play the legendary singer / songwriter in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, which begins its Australian premiere season at Sydney Lyric Theatre in September 2017.
One of Australia’s most versatile and in-demand performers, last month Esther Hannaford collected a Sydney Theatre Award for cult musical classic Little Shop of Horrors. She garnered a Helpmann and a Green Room Award for playing quirky sidekick Penny Pingleton in Hairspray and has won plaudits for her performances as bootlegger Billie Bendix in The Production Company’s Nice Work If You Can Get, the wistful Bonnie-Mae in Nick Enright’s Miracle City, and Ann Darrow in King Kong.
Paul Blake and Mike Bosner, the original Broadway producers said: “We have been very lucky finding supremely talented leading ladies to take on the iconic role of Carole King. This role has made stars of actresses on Broadway, in London’s West End, and we’re absolutely delighted to do the same with Esther in Australia.”
Australian Producer, Michael Cassel said: “We hoped to find an actress who could capture the indomitable soul and gentle spirit of Carole King, whilst delivering some of the biggest and most iconic songs of the last century. In Esther Hannaford we’ve found our star – an accomplished performer who brings a delicate balance of warmth, humour and vulnerability to the stage which we know will strike a chord with audiences.”
Director Marc Bruni said:" "The role of Carole King requires a unique and prodigious set of acting and vocal talents, and Esther Hannaford has them all. She’s a world-class performer, and we’re thrilled to welcome her into the Beautiful family to launch the Australian premiere production."
Beautiful: The Carole King Musical is the true story of the legendary singer's journey from schoolgirl songwriter to international superstar, including her relationship with husband and song-writing partner
Gerry Goffin and their close friendship and playful rivalry with fellow song-writing duo Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil.
It features a book by Tony® and Academy® Award-nominee Douglas McGrath, direction by Marc Bruni, choreography by Josh Prince and a stunning array of beloved songs written by Gerry Goffin/Carole King and Barry Mann/Cynthia Weil.
Hits include You’ve Got a Friend, Will You Love Me Tomorrow, It’s Too Late, Locomotion, (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman and I Feel the Earth Move along with chartbusting Mann/Weil tunes such as You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling, On Broadway and Uptown.
Long before she was Carole King, the chart-topping music legend, she was an ordinary girl with extraordinary talent. She sold her first hit, Will You Love Me Tomorrow, at just 17. By the time she was 20 she was writing number ones for the biggest acts in rock ‘n’ roll, including The Drifters, The Shirelles, Aretha Franklin and The Monkees. But it wasn’t until her personal life began to crack that she finally managed to find her own voice and step into the spotlight, becoming the most successful female songwriter of the latter half of the 20th century with music that would became the soundtrack of a generation.
Beautiful opened on Broadway in January 2014 at the Stephen Sondheim Theater, where it won two Tony® Awards and the 2015 Grammy® Award for Best Musical Theater Album. The Broadway production has broken every box office record at the theatre, recently becoming the highest grossing show in the venue’s history. The London production opened in February 2015, winning two Olivier Awards and the US touring production is current wowing audiences throughout the country.
Further casting to be announced soon.
in association with
PAUL BLAKE & SONY/ATV MUSIC PUBLISHING & MIKE BOSNER
Beautiful: The Carole King Musical
Sydney Lyric Theatre, Pirrama Road, Pyrmont NSW 2009
From September 2017
Photographer: Nathan Johnson