My one and only wish was for the chance to see Kimberly Akimbo transfer to Broadway so I could have the opportunity to see it again. It has been about a year since I saw it when it premiered at the Atlantic Theater ing Chelsea, and since that moment, I just couldn’t get it out of my mind ever since. It left with me with such a strong feeling, mainly because it was so intensely simple and charming, yet so emotionally complex. It’s warm and impossibly touching, yet many of the characters are not. And even on my second viewing, this time at the Booth Theatre on Broadway, this fantastic new musical, maybe the best of the season, finds its way into our collective heart so beautifully but from paths unexpected. It drives itself forward, down such a winding road, finding a golden and unique place to call home, where the music and the songs find a way of elevating the story with glee while keeping its sense of self honest and truthful. Somehow, somewhere, deep in this completely captivating tale of a 16-year-old girl who is genetically hyper-aging her way through high school and life, the musicality of the piece delivers the emotional clarity of life in abundance, leaving us thrilled and cheering by the time this show neatly wraps itself up. Not in a particularly traditional way, that is, but with an honesty and integrity that is overwhelmingly wonderful and fulfilling.
I never did see the 2003 play, “Kimberly Akimbo” by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright David Lindsay-Abaire (Rabbit Hole; Good People) when it premiered Off-Broadway at the Manhattan Theatre Club New York City Center Stage 1, long before it was enhanced and made into this fascinating show, by the wonderfully talented composer Jeanine Tesori (Caroline, or Change). Credited with creating the book and lyrics for the musical adaptation of his own play, Lindsay-Abaire has found his way through these high school hallways, with Kimberly, miraculously played by the incredibly convincing Victoria Clark (Broadway’s Gigi; The Light in the Piazza), chewing on her candied necklace, sitting in a state of perpetual anxiety. She’s feeling lost and alone, finding herself newly surrounded by kids looking for love in all the wrong New Jersey places and faces, but Kimberly, you can tell, is even more pessimistic. Love, she seems to believe, is too much to wish for. Or feeling beautiful for a day. Maybe a treehouse is as good as it can get.
Ahead of the Broadway Opening of Lempicka The Longacre Theatre Is Showcasing Art Work By Tamara de Lempicka
The Longacre Theatre (220 W 48th St.), soon-to-be home of the sweeping new musical, Lempicka, is showcasing a curated selection of renowned artist Tamara de Lempicka’s most famous works. Eschewing traditional theatrical front-of-house advertising, the Longacre’s façade now boasts prints, creating a museum-quality exhibition right in the heart of Times Square. The musical opens on Broadway on April 14, 2024 at the same venue.
The Longacre’s outdoor exhibition includes works of Self Portrait (Tamara in a Green Bugatti) (1929), Young Girl in Green (1927), Nu Adossé I (1925), The Red Tunic (1927), The Blue Scarf (1930), The Green Turban (1930), Portrait of Marjorie Ferry (1932), Portrait of Ira P. (1930), Portrait of Romana de la Salle (1928), and Adam and Eve (1932).
Starring Eden Espinosa and directed by Tony Award winner Rachel Chavkin, Lempicka features book, lyrics, and original concept by Carson Kreitzer, book and music by Matt Gould, and choreography by Raja Feather Kelly.
Spanning decades of political and personal turmoil and told through a thrilling, pop-infused score, Lempicka boldly explores the contradictions of a world in crisis, a woman ahead of her era, and an artist whose time has finally come.
Young Girl in Green painted by Tamara de Lempicka (1927). Oil on plywood.