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Lights of Broadway: Kimberly Akimbo (2022)

Kimberly Akimbo

Synopsis: Richard Greenberg examines America's obsession with baseball in an unusual context. This play deals with a star ballplayer coming out of the closet during a season filled with racial tension, violence and celebrity ego trips.


A 16 year old girl named Kimberly suffering from a rare disease that has those afflicted living with an average life span of 16 years. That is the premise of Kimberly Akimbo, currently playing at the Booth Theatre. What transpires over the course of a 2 hour show is a story of unbridled joy and love exploring morality and what it means to have ticking clock over your head.

Adapted from the play of the same name, David Lindsay-Abaire on book and lyrics with Jeanine Tesori create a celebration on stage with the show. Despite the subject material, Kimberly is a girl who wants to live life while she has it, and the writing encapsulates that. Songs and storytelling resulting in unbridled joy, even with the heartbreak of her disease and the family’s attempts to understand how to support her.

Leading the charge as Kimberly is one of the greatest soprano voices of the modern times, Victoria Clark. Victoria Clark completely transforms from a 71 year old woman to that of a 16 year old breathlessly. A triumphantly believable performance pulled off without a single second of doubt that the woman on stage was without a doubt a 16 year old. Alongside her in his Broadway debut was Justin Cooley portraying Seth. Being fresh from high school can sometimes lead to an acting performance that feel immature and lacking. However, Mr. Cooley’s performance was the exact opposite. Masterfully, he showcased a dynamic performance that many will spend years trying to copy. Lastly was stand out Bonnie Milligan as Aunt Debra, the no holds back family member who holds Kimberly in the highest of regards and pushes those around to see the joy in her niece.

Costume Designs by Sarah Laux as the costumes aided in strengthening the narrative. Nobody felt out of place, something that could easily go amiss with a 71 year old woman as a 16 year old. David Zinn’s scenic design also stands out in particular during this show as much of the narrative takes place in an ice rink. This could lead to difficulty in how to make ice skates that were functional on a Broadway stage without ice. The cast looked as if they were skating on that stage at the ice rink through the aid of Danny Mefford’s choreography.

Overall, there was nothing life changing or groundbreaking about Kimberly Akimbo. The show was an unmitigated delight about family, friendship, and love surrounding a life threatening terminal disease. A true early contender for the Tony Awards, Kimberly Akimbo was a triumph, if not overtly predictable. But, this begs the question, does Broadway always need to be life changing?

Kimberly Akimbo earns itself a 4 out of 5 stars and a resounding push from this reviewer for those to take in the moment of joy it provides.


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