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UGA faculty member Julie Ray "Beautiful" Scenic Designer

Alan Flurry

Professor and head of the department of theatre and films studies Julie Ray served as Scenic Designer for the recently-opened Beautiful: The Carole King Musical for Aurora Theatre. MFA candidates Jack Stoffel and Cody Russell served alongside her as Assistant Scenic Designers with Russell also designing props. Aurora Theatre holds a special place within UGA and the department, as one of its co-founders is alumnus Anthony Rodriguez (BFA '91).

Beautiful: The Carole King Musical chronicles the inspiring true story of Carole King’s journey from teenage songwriter to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. This Tony and Grammy Award-winning show is 'Some Kind of Wonderful' and sure to make you 'Feel the Earth Move' under your seat. 'Beautiful' features hits like "You’ve Got a Friend," "One Fine Day," "Up on the Roof," "On Broadway" and "Natural Woman." A show-stopping season opener filled with the songs you remember—and the story you’ll never forget. 

"I was delighted to be asked to design the set for Aurora Theatre's fall opening show "Beautiful: The Carol King Musical" , directed by David Rosetti. The overall goal was to create a flexible playing space where her story could unfold, with a nod to period design motifs from the late 1950s thru early 1970s," Ray said. "The set needed to facilitate 15 different locales with a cast of 24 actors and a live 9-piece band, with a grand piano to move on and off stage in addition to 3 other pianos and a keyboard. I ended up designing a two-story set where the live band members sit on elevated platforms and interact with the cast at times." 

Some of the most beloved songs in the 20th century American songbook, King's oeuvre reaches across generations of music lovers.

"Collaborating with this director and the other designers (in addition to the great Aurora theatre staff) and bringing Carole King's story to life with such talented people is a truly rewarding experience," Ray said. 

Congratulations to Ray and her student assistants as she continues to set a wonderful and important example of integrating artistic professional practice into the academic programs on the theatre and film studies department. 

Images from Beautiful: The Carole King Musical at the Aurora Theatre courtesy of Julie Ray and the Aurora Theatre

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