Tuesday, July 23, 2024

At the Tony Awards, “Kimberly Akimbo” won Best Musical and “Leopoldstadt”


But the night belonged to “Kimberly Akimbo”, the youngest and lowest-grossing, of the five nominees in the Best Musical category, but also by far the best-rated, with Unanimous acclaim from the critics. (Nodding a nod to the show’s beloved alliteration subplot, New York Times critic Jesse Green suggested with one imprint of his last fall: “Great cast = better music.”)

The show, set in 1999 in Bergen County, New Jersey, stars 63-year-old Victoria Clarke as Kimberly, a 15-year-old girl with a rare condition that causes her to age prematurely. Kimberly’s home life is in shambles – dad is drunk, mom is sick, aunt is a cheerful student – and her school life is complicated by her medical condition, but she is learning to find joy where she can. Clarke won a Tony Award for her performance as Kimberly, and Bonnie Milligan won a Tony Award for her performance as her aunt.

Directed by Jessica Stone, “Kimberly Akimbo” began life with an Off-Broadway production at the non-profit Atlantic Theater Company in the fall of 2021 and opened at the Booth Theater in November. Written by playwright David Lindsey-Abaire and composer Janine Tesori, based on a play written by Lindsey-Abaire in 2003. Both Lindsey-Abaire and Tesori won Tony Awards for their work on Sunday Night.

The musical, with just nine characters, had a capitalization of up to $7 million, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission; That’s a low budget for a Broadway musical these days, when an increasing number of shows are costing more than $20 million. Lead Producer David Stone, who is one of Broadway’s most successful personalities, as Head Producer of Wicked. This is the first time he has won a Tony Award for Best Musical, and he was also the lead producer on the Tony Award-winning revival of “Topdog”.

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The Best Musical Tony Award is considered the most economically beneficial, which generally leads to higher ticket sales. In winning the award, “Kimberly Akimbo” bested four other nominated shows: “& Juliet,” “New York, New York,” “Shucked,” and “Some Like It Hot.” None of the five nominated musicals were runaway hits, and four, including “Kimberly Akimbo,” were losing money the most weeks.