CHICAGO (WBBM Newsradio) -- When she was in high school at St. Ignatius, Sarah Bockel knew theater would likely be in her future.
"I grew up singing. I knew the words to every song. When I went to Ignatius, we'd go to house theater shows. In high school, I saw every one of those shows. I really wanted to be part of the storefront scene and I was for five years," Bockel said.
The Illinois Wesleyan graduate made Chicago her home base and has performed with The Bohemian Theater Ensemble, the Hypocrites, the Haven Theater, the Mercury, the Paramount Theater in Aurora and has also appeared in Chicago's long running hit "Million Dollar Quartet."
Now, she follows in the footsteps of fellow Chicagoans Abby and Jesse Mueller in taking on the iconic role of Carole King in the story of her life.
"I first auditioned for the role in 2014. I toured as an understudy for 18 months. I especially learned this part watching Abby every day. I then understudied Julia Knitel who took over from Abby. I've been to Carole King school," she laughed. "I feel like I know it. I'm inundated with her life and her music. I was ready. Now I've been touring for three months," she said.
Bockel plays the Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Carole King, the former Carol Klein of Brooklyn. King wrote several of the hits, which took over the charts during the 1960's and early '70's
"Being able to watch these women play this role, and to see them be able to bring their own quirky personality to the part -- she's kind of an every woman in that way," she said.
For Bockel, it's an honor to be performing as the iconic singer/songwriter.
"I've always kind of been into music from the 70's. One of my first CDs was Janis Joplin. I love Fleetwood Mac and I had "Tapestry" on vinyl," she said.
Bockel says it's amazing to perform before her hometown audience on the national tour.
"I'm still pinching myself every day. There's pressure. I never really thought I'd be performing on stages like the Oriental or the Cadillac. It's a really great experience, and it's really great to perform for family and friends," she said. "This is absolutely the highlight of my career."
"Beautiful - The Carole King Musical" continues through Jan. 28 at the Cadillac Palace Theatre.
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