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Carole King gives audience a 'Beautiful' surprise

Carole King, third from right, poses for photos

Carole King, third from right, poses for photos with the cast of "Beautiful: The Carole King Musical" at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre on Saturday after a performance. Credit: AP / Brooke Lefferts

Carole King may feel — as her song goes — like “a natural woman,” but she’s also a surprising one, as she proved Saturday night when she stepped onstage at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre to sing the final title song in the Broadway hit, “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical,” helping celebrate the Tony-winning show’s fifth anniversary. The stunned audience leapt to its feet, erupting into applause.

“This was a surprise, I guess, for a lot of us,” said King who spoke to the crowd after taking a curtain call with Canadian actress Chilina Kennedy, who currently plays King.

“Beautiful,” which chronicles the 76-year-old's life from teenage songwriter to Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee, and includes hits like “One Fine Day” and “You’ve Got a Friend,” is kept alive by fans who keep coming back, “people who’ve brought friends and family,” she said. (Nearly 2.2 million people have seen the show, which has earned $250 million.)

“If you keep doing that,” she added, smiling, “you never know when I might show up.”

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