Tony-Winning Musical to Close on April 9th After Nearly 200 Performances
The Tony Award-winning musical “Kimberly Akimbo” has announced it will play its final Broadway performance on April 9, 2023 after a nearly six-month run that earned widespread critical acclaim.
Producers announced on January 5th that the musical would conclude its “great Broadway adventure” on April 9 at the Booth Theatre, where it began preview performances on October 12, 2022 ahead of an official opening night on November 10.
By closing, “Kimberly Akimbo” will have played 27 preview and 171 regular performances at the Booth Theatre.
Acclaimed Production Lauded by Critics and Audiences Alike
Based on the acclaimed play of the same name by David Linday-Abaire, who also wrote the musical’s book and lyrics, “Kimberly Akimbo” tells the story of a teenager with a rare condition causing her body to age faster than it should. When she and her dysfunctional family scheme to spend her savings before she likely dies soon, Kimberly is forced to reevaluate her dim outlook on life.
The musical instantly emerged as a critics’ darling when it premiered last fall, with The New York Times applauding it as “a small miracle of a show that fills the theater with more buoyant spirit and nimbly rendered insight than seems possible.” It would go on to earn a stellar 96% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Production Info for Kimberly Akimbo Broadway Run:
|171 (by closing)
|Total Broadway Performances
|198 (by closing)
|November 10, 2022
|April 9, 2023
|1 hour 45 minutes
The show would become a favorite among theater-goers as well, garnering enthusiastic word-of-mouth and scaled back ticket availability into next year prior to its newly announced closing date.
At the 2022 Tony Awards, “Kimberly Akimbo” won Best Book of a Musical for Linday-Abaire and Best Lead Actress in a Musical for star Victoria Clark’s moving turn in the title role.
Bittersweet Farewell for Creative Team Behind Smash Hit
The closing of “Kimberly Akimbo” marks a bittersweet goodbye for the creative talents who brought the beloved musical to life over its nearly six-month Broadway engagement.
For book writer and lyricist Linday-Abaire, bidding farewell to his quirky show brings his journey with Kimberly full circle after first penning it as a play in 2000. “It’s rare that a writer gets to resurrect one of their old plays, dust it off, give it a musical overhaul, and relaunch it 18 years later,” he remarked to the New York Times.
Composer Jeanine Tesori, who has frequently collaborated with Linday-Abaire and earned a Tony nomination for her work on “Kimberly Akimbo,” echoed the sentimental pride in what the creative team was able to accomplish.
“We got to tell this story the way David imagined it, and audiences embraced it with open hearts,” she said. “It’s very gratifying.”
Director Jessica Stone spoke on the “magic” of watching the musical find its audience each night. “Knowing the show’s time on Broadway has an end date is bittersweet, but it makes every remaining performance that much more special.”
What Comes Next for Kimberly Akimbo After Broadway?
While the curtain will soon fall on Broadway, “Kimberly Akimbo” seems destined to live on thanks to the ripe enthusiasm surrounding it.
A national tour has long been viewed as the next probable step, though no official tour engagements have yet been announced. Still, given overwhelming demand from theaters nationwide, an extended touring production appears likely to give more audiences across America a chance to see the Tony-winning hit.
There is already interest from London producers in licensing “Kimberly Akimbo” for a West End engagement, possibly as early as mid-2024.
And though the musical just opened on Broadway, there are whispers of a film adaptation that could bring Kimberly’s story to movie theaters down the line. Linday-Abaire has precedence adapting his own works to film with acclaimed movies like “Rabbit Hole,” hinting Kimberly could indeed find future life on the silver screen.
Leading Lady Victoria Clark Bids Farewell to Career-Defining Role
While the full “Kimberly Akimbo” company will move onto new horizons after April 9, none perhaps faces as emotional a departure as Victoria Clark, who has built a formidable, career-redefining performance in the title role since originating it in the play’s world premiere at Atlantic Theater Company last year.
For the beloved theater veteran and Tony winner, playing the witty, wisecracking teenager with progeria has represented the most demanding role of her storied career. She has laid herself bare physically and emotionally eight times a week to authentically inhabit the aging ingenue.
Audiences have gravitated to Clark’s funny, poignant, utterly heartbreaking portrayal, which the New York Times called “a astonishing high-wire act that marries technical control, emotional abandon and boundless humor.”
As the run winds to its bittersweet conclusion, Clark has been increasingly candid about the deep affection and gratitude she feels towards Kimberly and the show that introduced her to theatergoers anew.
“Kimberly will always be such a special part of me well after the curtain comes down,” she shared in an interview last week. “I can’t begin to measure what I’ve learned from this brilliant character, who meets unimaginable hardship with perseverance and hope. She taught me perspective.”
With a potential national tour on the horizon, Clark says she could see herself picking back up Kimberly’s walker and frizzy wig “a few years down the line.” But Broadway’s original Kimberly intends to make the most of every remaining performance leading up to the final bows in April, soaking in each roar of the crowd.
“It’s easy to take the applause for granted eight shows a week,” she admits. “But knowing each night brings me closer to the last ovation makes me cherish it infinitely more.”
Looking Back on Kimberly Akimbo’s Road to Broadway Glory
While Broadway audiences were just introduced to quirky teenager Kimberly Akimbo last fall, her story has been over two decades in the making to reach the Great White Way.
Playwright David Linday-Abaire first dreamed up the offbeat character of Kimberly as a class assignment while working towards his graduate degree at Julliard in 1996. Endeared by Kimberly’s unique perspective on life that masked deeper pain, Linday-Abaire expanded his initial sketch into a full-length play which premiered at San Diego’s renowned Old Globe Theatre in 2000.
That original production starred Marylouise Burke as Kimberly and was helmed up-and-coming director Jessica Stone, building creative partnerships that would carry through over twenty years later for last year’s Broadway musical. Even some of Kimberly’s original co-stars like Nedra Snipes reprised their roles in 2022, offering a touching full-circle reunion.
While the play emerged an off-Broadway hit that increasingly resonated with regional theaters nationwide, Linday-Abaire felt there was room to expand Kimberly’s story further with song and dance that remained dormant on his creative back-burner for years.
In 2021, Lindsay-Abaire finally introduced the musical adaptation at a developmental lab opportunity through Atlantic Theatre Company, re-teaming with director Stone and much of the show’s original creative team over two decades later. The Workshop quickly gained momentum towards a full off-Broadway production last spring starring newcomer Victoria Clark, who wowed Linday-Abaire as his new muse for Kimberly.
The musical’s glowing reception at Atlantic Theater Company, hinting Broadway potential in the making, motivated producers to swiftly mount an uptown transfer where glowing reviews and Tony glory cemented Kimberly Akimbo as 2022’s sleeper Broadway hit.
Now, after 198 performances living out her Broadway dream, the plucky teenager with a shortened lifespan has certainly made the most of it, imprinting upon New York theater culture with a profoundly human story told through boundless heart.
While all shows must eventually dim their lights, Kimberly Akimbo’s spirit promises to echo in the minds of audiences for years to come. April 9th will mark last call at the Booth Theatre bar, but Kimberly’s journey towards inspiring theatergoers nationwide may have only just begun.
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