Carole King Surprises Beautiful Cast At Curtain Call Plea For AIDS Donations

Beautiful, the Broadway musical that tells Carole King’s life story through her songs, has been running for months to record crowds and rave reviews. King had famously declined to see the show, telling Playbill in December after walking out of a reading, “I can’t watch my life played out before me.”  She changed her mind on Thursday, choosing to attend the show during the week that Broadway casts issue curtain call pleas for donations to Equity Fights AIDS.

She finally showed up. After months of wondering whether Carole King would ever come to see the Broadway musical based on her life and comprising her music, the singer/songwriter surprised the cast and crew by attending Thursday evening’s performance of “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical.” After the curtain call, as the cast was doing the annual appeal for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, Ms. King ventured out on stage. “They had no idea,” she told the applauding audience. Jessie Mueller, who earned strong reviews for her portrayal of Ms. King when the show opened in January, wept, along with several other members of the cast. The charity effort became a song auction: Ms. King led the cast in “You’ve Got a Friend.” The appeal raised $30,000.

RELATED: Carole King’s 1971 album Tapestry has sold over 25 million copies and is among the greatest selling albums of all time. It swept the major awards at the 1972 Grammys, taking Album Of The Year, Song Of The Year, Record Of The Year, and Best Pop Female Vocal. Tapestry spent 15 consecutive weeks atop the albums chart and 43 years later that remains the record for a female vocalist. The album appeared on the Billboard Top 200 for 302 weeks, another record for a female vocalist, and sixth on the all-time list for weeks on that chart. (#1 is Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon at 741 weeks.)