‘The music is the star of the piece,” says actress Bronté Barbé, of musical Beautiful, which tells the story of Carole King’s phenomenal career.
King’s song-writing credits read like a ‘who’s who’ of hits: You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman, You’ve Got A Friend, Up On The Roof and Locomotion, to name a few.
Still in high school, Carole started selling her songs aged just 17.
And by the time she was 20, she had credits for some of the biggest names of the time: The Shirelles, Drifters, Monkees to name a few, before being thrust into the limelight herself.
Playing King in the show is Bronté, who has ‘loved every minute’ of the UK tour, which ends at Blackpool Opera House next week.
“She didn’t want to be famous, which is really interesting in today’s society,” said the actress, who came to fame on BBC’s talent show Over The Rainbow. “She wanted a family, and to be successful with her writing.
“She’s got an extensive back catalogue, and you just don’t realise it. But the show is also very gratifying to hard core Carole King fans, to see her story on stage.”
While Carole was a celebrated musician, Bronté doesn’t quite share the same skills.
“I don’t play the piano, no,” she admitted. “I had to learn how to fake it though, and learned as many chords as I could, and to get the rhythms of the songs right.
“The musical director follows what I do at the piano via a camera and we have a lot of little secret signals.”
* Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, Blackpool Opera House, Tuesday to Saturday, June 19 to 23.