Chilina Kennedy is once again dazzling audiences on Broadway. After a summer hiatus from Broadway’s “Beautiful” to star in the Toronto production, her hometown, Kennedy recently returned to the Stephen Sondheim Theater with captivating performances that have made her one of today’s most endearing stage stars.
Kennedy’s powerful, modulated voice pays tribute to iconic singer/songwriter Carole King in a way that instantly resonates with the audience. From the first introduction to King as Kennedy sits alone at the piano, to the rousing encore of “I Feel the Earth Move,” Kennedy and a magnificent supporting cast takes you through a nostalgic journey of musical magic.
Perhaps Kennedy’s most impressive on-stage quality, of which there are many, is her ability to connect with the audience. Never do you feel out of touch with her character as she seamlessly makes the transition from a teenage King to a woman betrayed time and time again by her philandering husband, who just happens to be her lyricist.
When she finally breaks free from his cheating ways, the audience is cheering her every step of the way. This is “girl power” at its finest. King eventually finds her own voice with her masterpiece “Tapestry.”
Kennedy is fortunate to have very talented actors around her, each of whom helps to elevate the show to the status of a “must-see” Broadway musical. The banter between them includes some hilarious one-liners.
Theater is based upon allowing one’s imagination a respite from the realities of the real world, and “Beautiful” does this as well as any show on Broadway today. It’s an inspiring, touching musical all wrapped into a lovely package of timeless songs with an impassioned story line. It’s a show you won’t soon forget.