Theatre Aspen confirms Julia Knitel and Sara King to star in ‘Beautiful: The Carole King Musical,’ single tickets on sale Tuesday |

Theatre Aspen confirms Julia Knitel and Sara King to star in ‘Beautiful: The Carole King Musical,’ single tickets on sale Tuesday

Julia Knitel will return to the role of Carole King this summer in Theatre Aspen's production of 'Beautiful: The Carole King Musical.'
Courtesy photo

Get ready Aspen, Broadway is coming to town and single tickets go on sale Tuesday.

Theatre Aspen announced casts and creative teams for Theatre Aspen’s 40th season, including “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical,” along with the Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning “Doubt” and “RENT.”

The cast of “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical” (June 22-July 8) is led by Julia Knitel as singer/songwriter Carole King. The musical tracks King’s personal journey and professional rise from teenage songwriter through the release of her influential 1971 album, “Tapestry.”

“People know her, and they know her music, like almost no other female singer/songwriter” said Knitel. “But what they don’t really know is her story. ‘Will you still love me tomorrow?’ She was 17 when she wrote that. It’s wild.”

Knitel, who was the understudy on Broadway before she landed the lead for the first national touring company, was the youngest actress cast for the role and spent the ages of 22-24 playing King full time.

She said she is excited to perform in Aspen for the first time and revisit the role now that “she is almost 30,” and able to connect with her from a more mature and grounded perspective.

“I’ve learned a lot from her,” she said. “She and I have these parallel stories, which I didn’t even realize until it was behind me. I also started my career professionally at 16 and was unaware of my limitations. I learned from her how to be unapologetically yourself, because Carole was told, ‘Well, your voice is only good enough for the demos and you know you don’t really have the look for a star.’ But what made her special was that she looked different than anyone else. She was singing with her true voice, writing songs that were coming from such a deep place, and her ability to perform them in a very unapologetic unpolished, raw way is what made her a star.”

Sara King will reprise her role as Cynthia Weil in Theatre Aspen’s production of “Beautiful, The Carole King Musical” this summer.
Courtesy photo

Sara King will also be reprising her role after a multi-year Broadway run as legendary songwriter (and close friend and competitor with Carole King and first husband and collaborator Gerry Goffin) Cynthia Weil in “Beautiful.”

“Cynthia is just this absolute firecracker. She’s very independent. She has opinions, and not afraid to push the boundaries,” said King. “She’s a strong-willed, very expressive woman who didn’t take no for an answer in a male-dominated world. She was a role model for Carole. It’s cool because in the play we get to see kind of the difference in energy. Carole King was more passive and a little submissive and a little timid and then Cynthia walks in and she really does drive the competition between the groups of friends.”

The creative team for “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical” features direction and choreography by Joyce Chittick (Broadway: “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” “The Pajama Game 2006,” “Anything Goes 2011”) and by David Ruttura (associate director in Broadway’s “Beautiful,” “School of Rock”) and music direction by Alan J. Plado (“Beautiful,” “Dirty Dancing,” “Jersey Boys”).

Theatre Aspen also confirmed the creative team for “Doubt,” (July 14-29) featuring direction by Jenn Thompson (off-Broadway’s “Conflict,” “Women Without Men”), John McDermott (scenic design), Christina Watanabe (lighting design), Jane Shaw (sound design and composition), and Hunter Kaczorowski (costume design).

The production of “RENT” (Aug. 4-26) will star Michael Lepore (“Sing Street”) as Mark Cohen, Liam Pearce (“Legally Blonde” at The Muny) as Roger Davis, Chabely Ponce (“A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “Ragtime”) as Mimi Marquez, and Jaye Alexander (“Titanique,The Drowsy Chaperone”) as Tom Collins.

The creative team for “RENT” features direction by Andy Señor Jr. (“On Your Feet!”), music direction by Jared Stein (“American Idiot,” “Deaf West’s Spring Awakening,” “Hair”) and choreography by Karla Garcia (“Hamilton,” “Wicked,” NBC’s “Smash”).

In celebration of Theatre Aspen’s 40th anniversary and to ensure locals get first shot at tickets, Theatre Aspen is hosting a special one-day-only on location event to kick off single ticket sales on Tuesday at 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. at the Hurst Theatre Tent. The first 40 ticket buyers at the box office will receive a free 40th anniversary wine tumbler, three-day pass to Cycle Bar Aspen and some chippers from Paradise Bakery.

Tickets will be available for purchase online at or by calling (970) 300-4474 starting Wednesday at 10 a.m.

A one-day-only single ticket sales event will take place at Hurst Theatre Tent on Tuesday, 10 a.m.- 4 p.m.
Theatre Aspen, Mike Lyons/Courtesy photo
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