CHICAGO (CBS) –A familiar face returns to Chicago theatre audiences this weekend.

Ryan Farnsworth was in the cast of “Beautiful – The Carole King Musical” back in December of 2015 when the popular musical had its North American tour launch in Chicago. It’s the story of singer-songwriter Carole King and her journey to stardom.

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Matt Loehr, James D. Gish, Sara Sheperd, Ryan Farnsworth and Sara King. (Credit: Joan Marcus)

Farnsworth is back with the show, on stage now through Sunday at the CIBC Theatre and he plays songwriter Barry Mann.

CBS 2 asked Farnsworth, what’s special this time around?

“It’s the same in that there is still such joy when it comes to the audience,” Farnsworth said. “Everyone is so excited to be there and so focused on this wonderful story.  They root hard for the relationships. They gasp when things go poorly, and cheer when the characters are successful.  This is such a great script, and you can really feel the audience right with you the whole time.”

Sara Sheperd, Sara King, Ryan Farnsworth and James D. Gish. (Credit: Joan Marcus)

He added “the excitement this time around is that most of us have made it through these dark couple of years. We’ve lost some we love, money and opportunities, friendships, but we’re back, and this show is the perfect blueprint for that euphoric feeling one gets when overcoming adversity.”

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Farnsworth, whose credits include productions of “Candide,” “Footloose,” “Godspell,”and “Ragtime” said he grew up in a small town (about 1,500 people) and visited Chicago while looking at colleges. He did a few touristy things but one experience stayed with him.

I knew I wanted to do three things: 1) go to the Field Museum, 2) get some deep dish, and 3) see a show at Second City.  I was not disappointed with any of these and elated by the third. This city understands comedy.  It’s a part of the bones of this place.  They look for it in all forms,” Farnsworth said. “And I know I’m a little biased, but this show is dang funny.  My character is about 75% jokes and the more the audience is with me, the more fun I have. I absolutely adore this city and its audiences.”

Why does Carole King’s story resonate with people?

“Of course she was an extraordinary talent who accomplished so much in her career. She was just inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for the second time! But at the basis of it, she was just like the rest of us: A normal person trying to get by in a world that throws adversity at us with impunity,” Farnsworth said. “All of that pain and joy and love is baked into her music (and Barry Mann’s), and especially the lyrics of Gerry Goffin and Cynthia Weil. “Tapestry” (which we should remind everyone is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year) is the soundtrack of a generation, that’s true. But I think listening to this music with the context of what was happening in this otherwise ‘normal person’s’ life is what gets right to the heart of those who watch.”

Sara Sheperd as “Carole King.” (Credit: Joan Marcus)

Beautiful – The Carole King Musical is at the CIBC Theatre now through November 7. Click here for more information on tickets and showtimes.

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CBS 2 Chicago Staff