Album Review: The New KIMBERLY AKIMBO Original Broadway Cast Recording Takes On Real Life In Funny & Musical Ways

Kimberly & Co Make Getting Old Too Soon Funny - No, Really.

By: Feb. 16, 2023
Album Review: The New KIMBERLY AKIMBO Original Broadway Cast Recording Takes On Real Life In Funny & Musical Ways

Album Review: The New KIMBERLY AKIMBO Original Broadway Cast Recording Takes On Real Life In Funny & Musical Ways Heigh Ho, dear lovely rainbow tribe, welcome back to Bobby's CD sandbox where we offer our broken-down breakdowns of new music releases. So, strap in and get ready, as Bobby goes on the record ABOUT the record.

This week's album entry in the BobbyFiles comes from the sleeper hit musical of the season, KIMBERLY AKIMBO. Based upon the 2012 dark comedy by David Lindsay-Abaire, with book and lyrics by the Pulitzer Prize winner himself and music by Jeanine Tesori, the story centers around a normal, average American, New Jersey 16-year-old named - you guessed it - Kimberly. Kimberly is normal in all things except, owing to the ravages of the real-world disease called progeria, her body has rapidly become that of a woman in her 60s - enter the luminous Tony Winner, Victoria Clark as the young at heart (and head) titular character...and this is what Bobby knows about KIMBERLY AKIMBO. Having not seen the show yet, our experience of their newly released cast album is that of a Kimberly neophyte, and when we got the call to review the music, we thought it would be fun, so we launched right in.

Opening with the song SKATER PLANET, we are introduced to a group of typical New Jersey teens trying to numb their boredom with all things Jersey at the ice skating rink... like ya do... in Jersey. Here we have adult Broadway professionals very credibly voicing youngsters needing a break from being kids with jokes about Springsteen and life in NJ in tow. The chorus blends well together and Tesori has built a score with callouts to a Jersey Shore/The Boss feel. Lindsay-Abaire, author of some challenging plays like RABBIT HOLE and GOOD PEOPLE, has also penned book and lyrics for the musicals HIGH FIDELITY and SHREK. With this opener, the marriage of words and music is off to a pretty interesting start. The first musical intro to Victoria Clark's Kimberly comes with track #3, MAKE A WISH. Here, Kimberly writes to the Make-A-Wish Foundation because she's essentially on borrowed time, owing to her condition. Clark's beautifully trained voice gives way (a bit) to the actress, as she fills that voice with the youthful tone, exuberance, and intent of a teenager. Here, she's completely touching and real, asking for her 3 wishes. 1) To be a model for a day in Dior and Jimmy Choos - to be beautiful to all ... for a day, 2) A fancy cruise on a yacht with her 50 closest and going somewhere beautiful ... for a day, 3) A pet monkey, or treehouse, hang-gliding - this is the big wish for more wishes that will extend her life, all distilling down to a simple homecooked meal with her wild family acting normal for once. But, finally, it's the treehouse ... all just for a day, it's heartfelt and a little sad, but Clark's performance makes it life-affirming.

ANAGRAM is the perfect follow-up as Seth (Justin Cooley), the object of Kimberly's affection, is paying her some attention. He's an anagram nerd trying to jumble her name into something that makes sense, to impress her. Kimmy looks at him and wonders how he looks at her, as he struggles with his task. He's obsessed but his mind is a big part of what she loves. Finally, the solution to Kimberly Levaco is Cleverly Akimbo (but you saw THAT coming, didn't you, dearlings?) It's all very sweet in music, words, and performances by Clark and Cooley. HEAD OVER HEELS yielded this writer's favorite line of the show when Kimmy's near-do-well, con artist auntie, played and sung by the marvelous Bonnie Milligan, sings, "When life gives you lemons, you gotta go out and steal some apples cuz who the F*^& wants lemons!" So true. Milligan belts this one out wonderfully, with just enough over-the-top, manic energy and R&B blues shouting to knock it out of the park. Kimmy's mom, gorgeously voiced by Alli Mauzey - perfectly embodying a young mom in the unenviable position of having to say goodbye to her daughter way too soon, tugs at heartstrings on FATHER TIME. This is a prayer for more life together for them all, and for her yet unborn baby. This cut truthfully presents a young mom feeling lost in her own home, a new baby on the way, a daughter on the way out, and so she begs Father Time to be more generous. It's a touching, delicate moment sung in a frail but beautifully soft voice. Mauzey also sings 2 co-numbers on tracks 2 and 6 - HELLO DARLING and HELLO DARLING 2 - where she sits in front of a video recorder, leaving behind a diary for her soon-to-be-born child because she just knows she is not going to make it. These songs tell the tale of a woman losing a grip she never really had. One gets the notion that mom is having manic moments, either caused by her pregnancy or a mild endemic imbalance. As funny and touching as these tracks are, it is all brought home by Steven Boyer as Buddy, Kimmy's dad, making a video of his own. Buddy is a father who has problems with booze, trying to explain to his baby that he wants to change, which makes him a good guy... right? But will it really be different this time? Boyer's voice is filled with angst and regret, conveying his character's dilemma wonderfully.

Those are some nice highlights from this new cast recording and there are more, but one of the jobs that this album does really REALLY well is to convey, through the music, the story of the show. While Bobby could go on through each song, saying wonderful things about the show, the cast, and this music, we would be dipping into spoiler-land and, well, that ain't right. You will just have to dial up this one for yourselves to listen and enjoy Kimberly's world. That world is one where the life of a beautiful young girl, embodied by one of Broadway's finest adult actresses, is ending, and this is her truth. The performances of the cast on this album are wonderful and the fact that you get such a solid sense of this show's story makes this a pretty perfect cast recording. Lindsay-Abaire's lyrics are, quite frankly, poetry and are beautifully married to Jeanine Tesori's solid rock score. It should also be pointed out that there is a fine supporting Kimberly Akimbo cast whose work on the album elevates the quality of the musical journey. Little Bobby is excited to see Olivia Elease Hardy, Fernell Hogan, Michael Iskander, and Nina White in action, after hearing them on the cast recording.

And then there is the performance of Victoria Clark. The subtle delicacy of this lady's work has elevated every show she has been in, whether musical or straight drama, and that work comes through loud and clear here. It is worth calling out a fine detail she weaves into her character, in that Kimberly's voice moves from a girlishly "teen" timbre into Clark's fuller, more womanly vocals, as she ages within the story. It takes a gifted artist to paint with such a fine brushstroke.

So, my rainbow lovelies, the original Broadway Cast Recording of KIMBERLY AKIMBO not only gave us all the feels, it allowed us to gravitate toward a show whose plot, until today, had not interested Little Bobby all that much, but, now, we are ON BOARD and can't wait to get our ticket, and so, we must give this album our hearty ...

5 Out Of 5 Rainbows - Put this one in your collection/stream today.

You Can See And Hear Everything About KIMBERLY AKIMBO Original Broadway Cast Recording On Their Webbysite: HERE

Put It In Your Spotifies Queue: HERE

The cast of Kimberly Akimbo:

Victoria Clark as Kimberly
Steven Boyer as Buddy
Justin Cooley as Seth
Alli Mauzey as Pattie
Bonnie Milligan as Debra
Olivia Elease Hardy as Delia
Fernell Hogan as Martin
Michael Iskander as Aaron
Nina White as Teresa

The Kimberly Akimbo standbys and understudies are: Colleen Fitzpatrick, Jim Hogan, Betsy Morgan, Skye Alyssa Friedman, Miguel Gil, and Alex Vinh

Album Review: The New KIMBERLY AKIMBO Original Broadway Cast Recording Takes On Real Life In Funny & Musical Ways

2023 Regional Awards


NEW YORK, NEW YORK A Cast Album Done Right Photo
NEW YORK, NEW YORK A Cast Album Done Right

NEW YORK, NEW YORK ORIGINAL BROADWAY CAST RECORDING is a 2023 release on the Wine and Peaches Label, available on streaming platforms, with discs and vinyl to come!

CAMELOT Cast Recording Crammed With Lots Of Goodness Photo
CAMELOT Cast Recording Crammed With Lots Of Goodness

We hope that all those who love the musical theatre will pick up this new rendition of CAMELOT with all new and wondrous vocal performances by the cast.

Album Review: SHUCKED The Musical Releases Its Corny Cast Album & Its A Toe Tapper Photo
Album Review: SHUCKED The Musical Releases Its Corny Cast Album & It's A Toe Tapper

If you love that wonderful down-home cross-section of musicals that include things like BIG RIVER, THE ROBBER BRIDEGROOM, BRIGHT STAR, or, let’s face it, OKLAHOMA, then you should definitely go get SHUCKED.

Album Review: SOME LIKE IT HOT & Indeed We Do. Hit Songs From A Hit Show Make A Hit OB Photo
Album Review: SOME LIKE IT HOT & Indeed We Do. Hit Songs From A Hit Show Make A Hit OBC

The score with just the few touches of dialogue included makes it very clear what is happening from start to finish and it delivers the show to the imagination so wonderfully.



Recommended For You