Amy Moore speaks to Alan Morrissey, who plays Gerry Goffin in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical at the Aldwych Theatre

Beautiful – The Carole King Musical, London Aldwych Theatre

Beautiful – The Carole King Musical, London
Aldwych Theatre

Beautiful recently announced an extended booking period to February 13, 2016.

Katie Brayben plays the title role of Carole King, alongside Alan Morrissey, who plays songwriter husband, Gerry Goffin. Beautiful narrates the life of Carole King before she became a chart-topping music legend. A guaranteed feel-good production, Beautiful features such familiar hits as Will You Love Me Tomorrow, Take Good Care Of My Baby and Locomotion.

DO YOU THINK YOUNGER AUDIENCES CAN RELATE TO BEAUTIFUL?

It depends on the generation. My nephew is nine and I was surprised to find that he really enjoyed it.

Certainly the generations above him were surprised at how many of these songs have filtered into their life, because their parents grew up listening to the music from their parents.

My sister and I grew up listening to a lot of the old soul records. The songs in Beautiful just seem to have been passed on from generation to generation. They’re just massive hits.

ARE YOU SURPRISED THAT BEAUTIFUL HAS BECOME SO SUCCESSFUL?

I think we all felt like we had created something that was really magical. Being a successful show in New York, the basic structure was exactly the same. We had an idea that it might do well over here, but obviously we weren’t sure how well Carole King was known compared to how well she’s known in America. We’ve got such an amazing cast. Because there was so much excitement with this musical, they were able to get immensely talented people to support the ensemble.

HAS ANYTHING BEEN ADAPTED FROM THE AMERICAN VERSION OF BEAUTIFUL?

There’s been quite a lot of little changes. Marc Bruni [Director] really let us find our own versions of the characters. There are a couple of script changes, like certain jokes that didn’t quite make it across the Atlantic. It’s very similar to the Broadway show, but it’s an original London cast.

HOW DOES BEAUTIFUL COMPARE TO OTHER PRODUCTIONS?

We travel from 1950 right through to 1971, so we cover a couple of decades. In that sense, we have a lot in common with Memphis, Sunny Afternoon and even Jersey Boys. The costumes in Beautiful are phenomenal and really help map the generations as they change, but mostly it’s portrayed through the music. There was a massive transition from the songs that Cynthia Weil, Barry Mann, Gerry Goffin and Carole King were writing in the 1960s. The music is one of the main ways we manage to map the journey, assisted throughout by beautiful costumes from each period.

TALK US THROUGH THE CHARACTER OF GERRY (12:05)

Gerry Goffin was Carole King’s first husband.

Gerry is quite a complex character and a phenomenal lyricist. He wrote the lyrics to You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman. He beautifully encapsulated what it felt like to be a woman at that time.

He had a lot of mental health issues and so; a lot of his genius was fuelled by some of his darker and more difficult characteristics. Some of the bad decisions he makes have a real direct impact on Carole.

Beautiful focuses on the love they share. What’s great about both of them as artists, they seem to use what’s happening in their life to fuel the beautiful and life changing songs that they created.

HOW DO YOU WORK TO BRING THAT EMOTION TO THE STAGE?

It was something I was worried about when I got the role. I’d played Romeo at the Globe Theatre, where I had a lot of emotional work. Gerry has a nervous breakdown during the show and that was certainly a challenge for me. It’s quite hard to get the audience to empathise with him.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE SONG IN BEAUTIFUL?

Up On The Roof – I don’t get to sing the whole number, because there’s a concept in the show where certain songs get introduced and the original artist takes them over.

It was my Dad’s favourite song and I grew up listening to it. Every night, it’s a really beautiful moment for me, because the lyrics connect to Gerry’s relationship with his own father.

TALK US THROUGH YOUR FAVOURITE SCENE

When we first hear You’ve Got A Friend. You get to see the principal cast round a piano with no orchestration. It’s such a beautiful song and such a beautiful moment in the story; people coming together to support each other through difficult times. I spend every night in the wings watching it.

HOW DOES THE CHARACTER OF GERRY COMPARE TO OTHER CHARACTERS YOU’VE PLAYED?

Gerry isn’t written as a traditional lead character.

He does some things that make the audience not necessarily like him. That was one of the things I loved about him. Gerry is the catalyst for the growth of Carole.

The stuff that I’ve done in the past has helped fuel Gerry and my interpretation of Gerry.

DESCRIBE BEAUTIFUL IN THREE WORDS

Carole. King’s. Journey.

WHAT CAN AUDIENCE’S EXPECT FROM BEAUTIFUL?

The audience can expect a fun night out with lots of laughs. Some beautiful songs that will remind you of nostalgic moments in your life, and some fantastic performances.

Beautiful is a piece of theatre with a real heart.

 

Groups of 10 plus receive a reduced rate of £39.50, valid for Monday-Thursday performances. www.beautifulmusical.co.uk