'Beautiful: The Carole King Musical' star wins critical praise

Mon Jan 13, 2014 2:28pm EST
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By Patricia Reaney

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Jessie Mueller, the star of "Beautiful - The Carole King Musical," may not be a household name yet, but some critics predicted on Monday that she could be after her performance in the new Broadway musical.

The New York Post described the casting of Mueller, 31, in the lead role of the show that charts the rise of the songwriter from her early days penning hits with her first husband Gerry Goffin to a solo career and her 1971 multiple Grammy-winning album "Tapestry" as "inspired."

"Mueller's hardly a household name," the newspaper said after the show's opening night on Sunday. "But her engaging, moving performance here should make her one."

USA Today praised Mueller's voice, range and comic sensibility and described her as "one of our best young musical actresses."

The New York Times said Mueller, a Tony nominee for her role opposite Harry Connick Jr. in 2011's "On a Clear Day You Can See Forever," has been a Broadway star in the waiting for several years but with "Beautiful" she became one.

"Much of what makes Ms. Mueller's performance so touching is its projection of a lack of confidence," the newspaper said.

"There's humility to Ms. Mueller's Carole, part of whom wants only to be a good Jewish wife and mother, preferably in the suburbs," it added.

The Hollywood Reporter agreed.   Continued...

Jessie Mueller sings onstage during the "Beautiful - The Carole King Musical" press preview at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre in New York, November 21, 2013. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri