Interview: Cast & Producer Talk The Carole King Songbook

Yeadon Town Hall launches the world premiere of The Carole King Songbook this weekend (tickets here) so I caught up with some of the cast – Eve Rihanna Kitchingman and Thomas Lillywhite – along with Producer Jamie Hudson to find out all things The Carole King Songbook…

First up, the cast:

How are you preparing for your role in this show? Is it a case of 24/7 immersion in the hits of Carole King?

Eve Rhianna Kitchingman: It’s been quite an intense rehearsal process which has meant everyday I’m playing nothing but Carole King – which definitely isn’t a bad thing! Carole wrote so many hits for so many artists, this process has introduced me to so many amazing songs I never knew she had written.

How are rehearsals going? Are there any highlights or cheeky teasers to share?

Eve Rhianna Kitchingman: Rehearsals have been really fun, the team are all working super hard and everyone is so excited to show everyone what we’ve got. Check out Yeadon Town Hall’s social media pages for teasers (@yeadontownhall)!

Why do you think King’s work has such longevity?

Eve Rhianna Kitchingman: Carole’s music is not only beautifully written, but her timeless melodies are accompanied by some phenomenal lyrics. The stories she tells with her songs share so much emotion which I think so many people can really connect with.

Thomas Lillywhite: Before seeing the Carole King musical last year I had no idea of how much influence Carole King has had on the music industry. I was unaware that some of my favourite songs such as ​You’ve Got a Friend​ were written / co-written by her which has heightened my respect for her as an artist.

Do you a have favourite Carole King song?

Eve Rhianna Kitchingman: I would have to say ​I Feel The Earth Move.​ This song is just so punchy and gives me so much energy every time I listen to it. There’s just so much passion in this song.

 How have you found working on a concert style production differs from working on more traditionally constructed shows, if at all?

Eve Rhianna Kitchingman: Yes! It’s allowed us a lot more creative freedom and allowed us to explore how each of us can best portray Carole King’s story and music.

What would you like your audiences to take away after seeing this show?

Eve Rhianna Kitchingman: Not only a new found appreciation for Carole King and her music, but I would also like the audience to be inspired by the emotion in her music and the messages of love and friendship.

Finally, why should audiences come and see ​The Carole King Songbook​?

Eve Rhianna Kitchingman: ​It’s an opportunity to listen to some of your favourite Carole King hits performed by a phenomenal live band, whilst maybe also discovering some new favourites you may have never heard before!

And next up: Producer Jamie Hudson

What would you say it is about Carole King’s music which continues to draw audiences and theatre creatives alike?

Carole King’s music is timeless and really does appeal to everyone. It’s been interesting to see how many people, including our cast and creative team, who have been so surprised by the well-known songs written by King. She was an influencer of her time, creating her very own style and paving the way for many future songwriters.

With Beautiful: The Carole King Musical doing so well on Broadway, in the West End and on tour, how does The Carole King Songbook differ specifically?

The Carole King Songbook doesn’t take audiences on a journey of Carole King’s personal life or career – instead, it puts the spotlight on her songwriting genius including the hits she wrote for several other artists.

The concert style approach is an intriguing one. Is The Carole King Songbook all about the music and less about the musician in this show? Does it recreate a specific concert as is the case in say Tina, The Tina Turner Musical?

 That’s absolutely spot on, yes, although it doesn’t aim to recreate a specific concert and instead is a vibrant celebration of Carole’s music. Our cast of four amazing vocalists sing the full range of songs, from The Drifters hits to some of Carole King’s very first compositions. We’re aiming to find a new and intriguing way to introduce audiences to her music, rather than providing a tribute act.

This is the first show Yeadon Town Hall has produced since new management arrived in the building. Has the importance attached to it as such a show influenced this debut show choice?

Carole King is such an influential artist, so it made sense for us to choose her music as the basis for this brand new show. We know she’s a popular and much-loved artist so when it came to choosing a show that had the potential to perform well across the UK we had faith Carole King was the perfect choice.

Why should audiences come and see The Carole King Songbook?

Our cast are spectacular, all young up-and-coming musicians who are putting their own stamp on Carole King’s songs. This will be a really unusual and interesting interpretation of her music and we can’t wait for people to come along and see the show.

So there you have it! The Carole King Songbook plays Yeadon Town Hall 14th-15th June 2019 before it heads out on tour over the summer and you can find tickets here.

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