When Kayla Rivera watched “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical” during its North American tour run, the Edmonton-based Filipino actress was blown away that’s why she considers portraying the lead role in the Philippine production to be a huge honor.
In an interview with Bulletin Entertainment, we asked what were the pressures or challenges in doing the musical.
“She’s a living legend so, of course, there’s pressure to just, you know, to just be as genuine as I possibly can in bringing the character to life,” she said. “I mean, it’s a Grammy and Tony Award winning show. I just feel so grateful to have been entrusted with the role.”
For the record, Carole has made 25 solo albums, the most successful being “Tapestry,” which held the record for most weeks at No. 1 by a female artist for more than 20 years. Her record sales were estimated at more than 75 million copies worldwide. She has won four Grammy Awards and was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for her songwriting. She is the recipient of the 2013 Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, the first woman to be so honored. She is also a 2015 Kennedy Center Honoree.
Kayla said she did a lot of research about the American singer-songwriter. She relates to Carole being an “optimistic person.”
“The thing that’s so beautiful about Carole is that she finds the bright side of things,” was how she put it.
The musical is about Carole’s remarkable journey from teenage songwriter to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. From the string of pop classics she wrote for the biggest acts in music, to her own life-changing, chart-busting success with her album.
It features unforgettable classics like “You’ve Got a Friend,” “One Fine Day,” “So Far Away,” “Take Good Care Of My Baby,” “Up on the Roof,” “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling,” “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow,” and “Natural Woman,” among others.
“What makes the show so successful is that they were able to weave the songs so successfully into her life story,”Kayla said. “She’s definitely a legend yet still human. She weathered so many trials in life.”
“Beautiful” is part of Atlantis theatrical Entertainment Group’s 20th year celebration. Playing Carole’s husband and writing partner, Gerry Goffin, is Nick Varricchio. Joining them are Mikkie Bradshaw-Volante as Carole’s friend and rival. George Schulze as Barry Mann. Gab Pangilinan, as the lead singer of The Shirelles and Marilyn Wald. Jill Peña plays one of the Shirelles and Janelle Woods, Teetin Villanueva plays play Little Eva, Maronne Cruz as Betty, Carole’s childhood best friend.
Tim Pavino, Arman Ferrer, Jep Go, Markus Mann, Nelsito Gomez, Rhenwyn Gabalonzo, Gabby Padilla, Dean Rosen, Alex Reyes, Jamie Wilson and Carla Guevara-Laforteza are also in the cast.
Kayla has good words for her co-actors.
“Our director is a genius in proper casting. Listen to our cast bringing the songs to life and the qualities of their voices are just so specific to the characters,” Kayla said.
“Everyone, collectively, just brings so much heart to the show. And these are not just the people seen on stage, but those behind the scenes. It’s just the most amazing team and I feel so blessed to be in it. Seeing their talent, their dedication, passion and love, keeps me wanting to also be the best I can be.”
“Beautiful: The Carole King Musical” runs from June 14 to July 7 at the Meralco Theater in Pasig City.