Carole King made a surprise appearance at the fifth anniversary performance of Beautiful, the Broadway musical featuring King’s songs, to deliver a piano rendition of the show’s closing number “Beautiful.”
The musical’s closing scene revolves around King’s famed 1971 Carnegie Hall concert, with actress Chilina Kennedy portraying King in the production. However, on Saturday night, King herself sat down at the piano to perform “Beautiful.”
The unannounced appearance marked the first time that King had appeared in the musical during Beautiful‘s five-year run at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre. King remained onstage during the curtain call and the ensemble rendition of her “I Feel the Earth Move.”
Following the performance, King addressed the audience. “What a night! It was amazing to be a part of this. This musical has been such a magical experience. To be here and celebrate our fifth anniversary with so much joy and love is amazing,” she said.
“Everyone connected with this show will agree that the people we have to thank the most are you, the audiences; please give yourselves a hand. It’s thanks to you, you who have come once … twice, three times. I hear from people who’ve brought friends, family and shared the joy and shared the love, and it’s amazing. So if you keep doing that, you never know when I might show up again.”
Beautiful opened on Broadway on January 13th, 2014; the musical went on to win a Tony Award (and earn seven nominations), a Grammy and, for its touring production, an Olivier Award in the U.K.
King told the Associated Press in an interview, “It’s kind of miraculous that this show has lasted for five years because not many do. And it’s a testament to, I think, people say the music … but the book is so good and the direction and the lighting and the sets. It’s really a well put together production.”