I finished my week of theater-going in New York on a high note, seeing a quirky new musical called Kimberly Akimbo, with music by Jeanine Tesori (Fun Home, Caroline or Change) and lyrics by David Lindsay-Abaire (Rabbit Hole, Good People), based on his play of the same name.
Both play and musical center on a teenager named Kimberly who has a rare aging disorder that gives her the looks and physical condition of a woman in her 70s, although she is only 15. And while she is not expected to live past 16, the show is hardly downbeat, for she is intent on packing as much life as she can in whatever time she has.
That includes her first experience with love to an equally outcast student (Justin Cooley) with a penchant for anagramming and Kim’s involvement in her larcenous aunt’s (Bonnie Milligan) check-forging scheme.
Heading the cast in the title role is the remarkable Victoria Clark (Tony winner for Light in the Piazza), who seems likely to earn another award for her portrayal of this radiant though dying young woman. Tesori’s nimble melodies are hardly surprising. The surprise is how well Lindsay-Abaire matches them with his smart and occasionally smart-ass lyrics.