A Difficult Age
New York magazine|December 20, 2021 - January 02, 2022
Two teens find each other just in the nick of time.
By Helen Shaw

THE WAY TEENAGERS in the new musical Kimberly Akimbo express love—their love language, if you’re into that kind of thing—is by making anagrams of each other’s names. A high-school student, Kimberly, crushes on the tuba-playing, Elvish-speaking Seth, and the two nerdy adolescents express their affection by making word scrambles. Kimberly Levaco becomes “cleverly akimbo”; Seth Brett Weetis becomes, a touch too perfectly, “the bittersweet.” Puzzles require attention, which is the first component of love. To change David Lindsay-Abaire’s poignant 2001 comedy into this fresh and gorgeous musical required this same deep-play, letter-by-letter concentration. Lindsay-Abaire and the composer Jeanine Tesori pick up the original (Kimberly Akimbo the play) and rearrange its pieces carefully (Kimberly Akimbo the musical), and in doing so, they find hidden sideways beauty.

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