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An interview with The Zodiac's Barry Mann - Chris Doyle

The Zodiac Musical Theatre's upcoming production of Beautiful - The Carole King Musical promises to be a captivating musical journey through the life of some of the greatest songwriters of all time. Alongside the story of Carole King and her husband Gerry Goffin, we see the friendly competition with contemporaries Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann, whose partnership produced dozens of era defining hits, including "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" and "On Broadway.". Join us as we chat with Chris Doyle who is playing Barry Mann in The Zodiac's cast of Beautiful: The Carole King Musical.

Can you tell us a bit about your background – how long have you been performing for? What does “real life” look like for you?*

I got into acting when The Brindley, in Runcorn, first opened. It had a youth drama class which I attended weekly. Then when I attended university, I took part of a players society where we’d perform Shakespeare. It wasn’t until I was 24 and had returned from a stint of teaching English in Japan that joined a local group. The closest one was The Zodiac. I’d never really done musicals properly before but I soon found myself lucky enough to be cast in some incredible leading roles. I’ve since worked with other companies and have loved every second of working with such talented people who bring amazing shows to theatres across the area.

Real life for me is a bit different. I work for Cancer Research UK in the project team. I am very fortunate that in my career, I get to work on projects that play a part in helping to keep families and friends together longer through life-saving research.


Is it daunting playing a real person?

Yes and no. Yes, because people could go away and research all the ways that I didn’t act like Barry Mann. But, no, because theatre is an art form, and with that comes the licence to be as creative as you want. So, this is my version of Barry Mann’s story.


How would you describe Barry’s character?

A cheeky, loveable and extremely besotted-with-Cynthia person. He found the love of his life, who also loves doing what he does, which is writing and producing songs. I think there is no Barry without Cynthia, and I hope that relationship comes across on stage.


Have you learnt anything about the songs in the show that surprised you?

Just how many Carole King songs I knew! She wrote a lot. But I never realised just how many I actually knew before I went to see Beautiful when it toured a couple of years ago.


What’s your favourite song in the show, either your own or overall?

You can’t beat ‘You’ve Got A Friend’. Its an amazing song about the power of friendship and connection. Just, lyrically, quite powerful. However, there is a moment in the show where you’ll catch yourself with a lump in your throat when Carole sings ‘Will you still love me tomorrow’ – it’s not a showstopping number, but it packs an emotional punch and really stands out for me.


What is your favourite scene in the show?

There is a great scene, called 1650 Broadway, which showcases all the incredible music and artists that were around at the time that Carole was trying to break into the scene. It’s a great ensemble number too, with fantastic harmonies, which allows all the cast to shine. See if you can recognise any classics from this amazing medley.


What do you hope audiences will take away from seeing Beautiful?

I think people will go away thinking how good the songs are. The harmonies sound incredible. But, one of the main messages from the show, is that it’s never too late. Carole realised that no matter what age, if you’re not happy, or if your life isn’t headed in the direction you thought it would be, don’t worry! There’s always time to take control and make your life…Beautiful.


Beautiful The Carole King Musical opens 28th February 2024 at The Grange Theatre, Hartford Cheshire. Book your tickets at or call the box office on 01606 539040.

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