Esther Hannaford to play Carole King in Beautiful

Beautiful The Carole King Musical Esther Hannaford - photo by Nathan JohnsonAs groundbreaking music icon Carole King celebrates her 75th birthday, the Broadway sensation based on her remarkable rise to stardom is thrilled to announce 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.

“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,” said Australian Producer, Michael Cassel. “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.”

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.

“The role of Carole King requires a unique and prodigious set of acting and vocal talents, and Esther Hannaford has them all,” said Director Marc Bruni. “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 songwriting 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.

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 currently wowing audiences throughout the country. Further casting is to be announced soon.

Beautiful: The Carole King Musical
Sydney Lyric Theatre, Pirrama Road, Pyrmont NSW 2009
From September 2017
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Image: Esther Hannaford to star in Beautiful:The Carole King Musical – photo by Nathan Johnson