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New York — Audience members seeing “Beautiful,” the life story of Carole King, got a surprise when she appeared as herself to celebrate the show’s fifth anniversary on Broadway.

The packed house at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre erupted into thunderous cheers and applause as King appeared Saturday night, sitting at a baby grand piano and showing all the love in her heart as she sang “Beautiful,” the final song.

“It’s kind of miraculous that this show has lasted for five years because not many do. And it’s a testament to, I think, people say the music … but the book is so good and the direction and the lighting and the sets. It’s really a well put together production,” King said after the show.

She has sung onstage during curtain calls during the show’s long run but has never appeared in the show itself.

In the show’s final scene — set during her famous 1971 Carnegie Hall concert — King, 76, played a much younger version of herself as she took over for Chilina Kennedy, who recently returned to the Broadway production after playing the King role in the North American tour.

King and the cast then performed the show’s encore number, “I Feel the Earth Move,” at the curtain call as the audience danced and clapped along. The singer-songwriter held hands with Kennedy as the two took several bows.

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