Breaking News Bar
posted: 6/7/2014 5:00 AM

How meeting her idol changed Jesse Mueller's life

hello
Success - Article sent! close
  • Actress Jessie Mueller is nominated for a Tony Award for her role in "Beautiful."

      Actress Jessie Mueller is nominated for a Tony Award for her role in "Beautiful."
    Associated Press

  • Jessie Mueller, center, plays Carole King in "Beautiful: Carol King the Musical" in New York. Mueller is nominated for a Tony Award for her role.

      Jessie Mueller, center, plays Carole King in "Beautiful: Carol King the Musical" in New York. Mueller is nominated for a Tony Award for her role.
    Associated Press/The O and M Company

 
By John Carucci
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- When Jesse Mueller first sat behind the piano to portray Carole King on Broadway, she had no idea what kind of year she was going to have. It was when the real Carole King showed up unexpectedly at a recent performance that put it all into perspective.

During a curtain call in early April of the Tony Award-nominated "Beautiful: The Carole King Musical," the legendary musician walked out on stage and hugged Mueller and the cast.

Order Reprint Print Article
 
Interested in reusing this article?
Custom reprints are a powerful and strategic way to share your article with customers, employees and prospects.
The YGS Group provides digital and printed reprint services for Daily Herald. Complete the form to the right and a reprint consultant will contact you to discuss how you can reuse this article.
Need more information about reprints? Visit our Reprints Section for more details.

Contact information ( * required )

Success - request sent close

"There was sort of a calm that came over me. I was also kind of losing my mind, because I couldn't believe she was actually there, but I guess that was always the approval I was looking for," Mueller said.

All along, Mueller wanted King, who had not previously sat through an entire performance because it depicted a painful part of her life, to feel comfortable with her performance.

"I wanted her to be like, 'It's OK. She's not screwed it up.' That's kind of how I felt," Mueller said. "Her opinion about me was the one I cared the most."

But once King showed up, it changed Mueller's performance, at least temporarily. It took her a few shows to regain her composure between "real Carole," and Mueller's version of her.

"I felt like I really overthought it the night after," she recalls.

After she walked onstage that night, King raised $30,000 for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. She told the crowd that Mueller and the company were fantastic, and that "It was so joyous to be there. I couldn't be more proud."

Then she sang her biggest hit, "You've Got a Friend" with the cast, trading verses with Mueller.

"Beautiful" is nominated for seven Tony awards, including one for Mueller for best actress in a musical, and two for her co-stars Jarrod Spector and Anika Larsen. The Tonys are on Sunday night on CBS.

Share this page
Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.
    help here