Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Review Roundup: KIMBERLY AKIMBO Starring Victoria Clark, Bonnie Milligan, & More- See What the Critics Are Saying!

pixeltracker

The musical stars Victoria Clark as a bright and funny Jersey teen, who happens to look like a 72-year-old lady.

Atlantic Theater Company presents the world premiere musical Kimberly Akimbo featuring book and lyrics by Pulitzer Prize-winner David Lindsay-Abaire and music by Tony Award-winner Jeanine Tesori, Read the reviews below!

Kimberly Akimbo features Tony Award nominee Steven Boyer (Hand to God, Time and the Conways), Tony Award-winner Victoria Clark (The Light in the Piazza, Gigi), Justin Cooley (Off-Broadway debut), Olivia Elease Hardy (Summer: The Donna Summer Musical US Tour), Fernell Hogan II (Mean Girls US Tour), Michael Iskander (Off-Broadway debut), Alli Mauzey (Hello, Dolly!, Wicked), Bonnie Milligan (Head Over Heels), and Nina White (Off-Broadway debut).

Kim is a bright and funny Jersey teen, who happens to look like a 72-year-old lady. And yet her aging disease may be the least of her problems. Forced to maneuver family secrets, borderline personalities, and possible felony charges, Kim is determined to find happiness in a world where not even time is on her side.


Jesse Green, New York Times: In the funny and moving new musical "Kimberly Akimbo," which opened on Wednesday in an Atlantic Theater Company production at the Linda Gross Theater, Victoria Clark brings her to life so believably and gorgeously that you find yourself rooting for a kiss you might otherwise find creepy. That's no surprise; Clark, 62, is one of our great singing actors, situating herself exactly where the two impossible arts intersect. In role after role - particularly as an anxious mother in "The Light in the Piazza," for which she won a Tony Award in 2005 - she makes music not an afterthought to character, but the thought itself. What is surprising is that "Kimberly Akimbo," based on the 2000 play of the same name by David Lindsay-Abaire, manages a similar feat.

Helen Shaw, Vulture: The Atlantic Theater Company production is probably bound for Broadway. The size of the talents involved demands it, and the show has the gorgeous sheen of something that has its eyes on larger audiences. Director Jessica Stone has done beautifully detailed work, as has the entire design team, but it's all stuff that should scale up well, and choreographer Danny Mefford could use a little more space for those triple lutzes in the ice-skating scene.

Robert Hofler, The Wrap: This almost never happens to a novel, movie or play when it's turned into a musical. Typically, when songs are added, the narrative needs to be made simpler, character motivations get scrunched and so the original source material ends up being compromised. Something different has happened to David Lindsay-Abaire's play "Kimberly Akimbo" on its way to becoming a new musical, which opened Wednesday at the Atlantic Theater Company. It's still funny and quirky and very off-center, but the story of a rapidly aging 16-year-old girl and her deadbeat family has been grounded. No, not grounded in a high school sort of way.

Adam Feldman, Time Out New York: Clever, touching and idiosyncratic, Kimberly Akimbo is the best new musical of 2021, and Jessica Stone's well-cast world-premiere production at the Atlantic does it justice. The dark absurdist comedy of Lindsay-Abaire's original play-reminiscent of Christopher Durang, John Guare and the playwright's own Fuddy Meers-remains, but it is tempered by the addition of a four-person chorus of students and by Tesori's winding, agile melodies; material that might have been rendered merely as zany has a more human dimension.

Juan A. Ramirez, Theatrely: Kimberly Akimbo, the new musical which premiered tonight at the Atlantic Theater Company, does not carry itself with the weight David Lindsay-Abaire's book and lyrics, and Jeanine Tesori's music, hold. The offbeat anti-comedy glides along like an awkward teen at the New Jersey ice-skating rink its characters hang around, but make no mistake: this is a momentous work of theatre, exquisitely performed by a stellar cast of talent, known and new.

Frank Scheck, New York Stage Review: Adapted by David Lindsay-Abaire from his acclaimed 2000 play (first seen here at Manhattan Theatre Club in 2003), the show featuring music by Jeanine Tesori and lyrics by the playwright proves too quirky for its own good, suffering from jarring tonal and narrative shifts that don't do the problematic subject matter any favors. But the musical also has charm to spare, thanks largely to Victoria Clark's affecting performance in the title role and the touching central relationship at the story's core.

David Finkle, New York Stage Review: On to the Kimberly Akimbo songs-added spectrum. Several of the ditties, as conducted by Chris Fenwick, have a desired ditzy quality. "Better" has such taking ways that patrons may wish there were even more to it. As it is, Milligan, backed by the teens, establishes the bouncy item as a highpoint. Milligan and the teen contingent have a good time with "How to Wash a Check." Best yet is the closing number, "Great Adventure," with its lyric advising, "So just enjoy the view, because no one gets a second time around." Any musical ending as strong as this does is lucky, for sure.

David Cote, The Observer: In its unpretentious chamber form, you can ignore longueurs and savor Tesori's craft, Lindsay-Abaire's wit, and a first-rate ensemble, but tough decisions will have to be made if Kimberly ever wants to truly grow up.

Joe Dziemianiwicz, New York Theater Guide: Tesori (Fun Home, Caroline, or Change) and Lindsay-Abaire have created a score of emotionally rich songs that glows like a musical mood ring. Kim's yearning shines in "Make a Wish," while the Levato family dynamic comes through in "The Inevitable Turn." "Anagram" cheerfully relates the value of a shift in perspective. "How to Wash a Check" speaks for itself. Director Jessica Stone has assembled an ensemble that's uniformly terrific in this the Atlantic Theater Company presentation. Newcomer Cooley has charm to spare. Milligan is a mighty belter and criminally deft scene-stealer. Clark, a Tony Award winner for The Light in the Piazza, gives a lived-in performance that's playful and poignant and very affecting.

Related Articles

Featured on Stage Door

Shoutouts, Classes & More

From This Author Review Roundups