Jessie Mueller, Evanston native, wins Tony for 'Beautiful: The Carole King Musical'

Jessie Mueller and Carole King

Jessie Mueller won the Tony Award for best lead actress in a musical for playing the title character in "Beautiful: The Carole King Musical."

Mueller is an Evanston native and launched her career in Chicago. A high point of the awards show Sunday night was when she took center stage to perform "I Feel the Earth Move." King appeared onstage to sing it with her.

"I never thought I would get to sing with you once in my life, let alone twice," Mueller said to King, who was sitting in the audience during her acceptance speech.

The first time the two sung together was at a curtain call of the show, when King finally came to see it. King told the crowd that once she'd summoned up the courage to see "Beautiful," it became her favorite show on Broadway.

"You have taught me so much. You teach me so much every night I get to go up on stage and try to go through what you went though, and try to come out of it with kindness and love and forgiveness and a pure heart. You're just such an amazing woman," Mueller said to King.

"Beautiful: The Carole King Musical," the show about the songwriter behind such hits as "It's Too Late" and "You've Got a Friend."

Mueller beat out Mary Bridget Davies from "A Night With Janis Joplin," Sutton Foster in "Violet," Idina Menzel from "If/Then" and Kelli O'Hara in "The Bridges of Madison County."

Mueller, who previously starred in "On a Clear Day You Can See Forever" with Harry Connick Jr. and replaced O'Hara in "Nice Work If You Can Get It," is the third of four children raised by actors in Chicago. All of her siblings are in the business.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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