NY Theater Reviews: Almost Famous, Kimberly Akimbo, Leopoldstadt & Only Gold


Official Blurb: TOM STOPPARD returns to Broadway with his critically acclaimed, Olivier Award-winning new play, the humane and heartbreaking ‘LEOPOLDSTADT.’ Set in Vienna, the play takes its title from the Jewish quarter. This passionate drama of love and endurance begins in the last days of 1899 and follows one extended family deep into the heart of the 20th century. Full of his customary wit and beauty, Stoppard’s late work spans fifty years of time over two hours. ‘Tom Stoppard is endlessly intrigued by questions of fate, chance, coincidence, in history as well as in love, and in the epic, breathtaking LEOPOLDSTADT, he examines the consequence of an entire people trapped in a common fate.’ – The Washington Post. With a cast of 38 actors and direction by Patrick Marber, ‘LEOPOLDSTADT’ will play on Broadway for a limited time only.

My take: This show was amazing. It was heart wrenching, deep and sad  but still one that has to be watched.
I had heard that given 38 cast members and three generations it was going to get confusing so I studied the family tree thoroughly before the show started. It was useful, but not even necessary as the transitions are handled marvelously and I never felt lost or confused regarding the characters – it was expertly handled. It is really strange seeing David Krumholtz in such a heavy role (he will always be Michael from 10 things I hate about you and Bernard in Santa clause ) but he is wonderful in it. Cassie levy can do it all in my book- I loved her in frozen, she showed a completely different side in Caroline or change and here it’s smaller but still impactful ( but don’t get me wrong I still would have loved for her and Brandon Uranowitz to burst out in song).

One of the things I enjoyed the most was that such heavy topics were discussed but never directly. It was implied. It relied on our collective knowledge and the assumption that one doesn’t have to show you the worst moment for you to understand all the implications. I can write on an on about this show, but you can also read every single stellar review out there. The only thing I can say is run to see it if you haven’t before it closes.

side bar: I love that fact that it doesn’t have an intermission. Can we expand this trend, i realllyy dislike intermissions

Kimberly Akimbo

Official Blurb: Winner of every off-Broadway “Best Musical” award, including the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award, the “powerful new musical” (Jesse Green, The New York Times) Kimberly Akimbo is now on Broadway. Tony Award® winner Victoria Clark stars as Kim, a bright and funny Jersey teen who happens to look like a 72-year-old lady. And yet her aging disease may be the least of her problems. Forced to maneuver family secrets, borderline personalities, and possible felony charges, Kim is determined to find happiness in a world where not even time is on her side. Written by Pulitzer Prize winner David Lindsay-Abaire and Tony Award® winner Jeanine Tesori, with direction by Outer Critics Circle Award winner Jessica Stone, Kimberly Akimbo “feels like a miracle — the funniest and most moving experience of my entire return to theatergoing” (Peter Marks, The Washington Post).

My take: This show touched all my heartstrings. I was a mess of a puddle by the end, and really regretted not packing kleenex in my purse. It’s funny, it’s sweet, it’s sad, it’s nostalgic, its a beautiful mix, just as is life. You will leave with a smile in your face, trust me.

I expected this to be a good show given all the off broadway praise, but I was hesitant since I have had many a shows that were critically acclaimed, but I left appreciating the art, but just a tad bored. This was not the case here. I was moved. I was so involved with the story and the characters and it had me feeling all the feelings. The performances are spectacular! Vitoria Clark is masterful. In what could totally be a caricature performance her Kimberly is so nuanced and perfectly teenager it was ridiculously impressive. Also Bonnie Milligan’s voice is stupidly good and Justin Cooley is going to be a star, he just has that sparkle that you cant take your eyes away from him on stage. The music is probably not something I’m going to put on my Broadway playlist on repeat but there were some gorgeous songs and it served the story beautifully.

Almost Famous

Official Blurb: THE YEAR IS 1973 AND IT’S ALL HAPPENING.Led Zeppelin is king, Richard Nixon is President, and idealistic 15-year-old William Miller is an aspiring music journalist. When Rolling Stone magazine hires him to go on the road with an up-and-coming band, William is thrust into the rock-and-roll circus, where his love of music, his longing for friendship, and his integrity as a writer collide. ALMOST FAMOUS is a hilarious and heartfelt celebration of community, family, fandom and the power of music.

My take:My take might be different than most here, because I walked in to this having never seen the movie. Weird I know, but also my friend had not either. In a way it was good because I went into this blind, solely judging it as a new musical theater production and not trying to compare it to what the movie was/conveyed etc. For me, it was an entertaining if somewhat forgettable night at the theater. It was a fun show to watch,Just nothing made me rave about it and a few weeks out when I finally sat down to write this review, nothing that had still crept its way into my brain. It is not a bad show, I would just say its an ok show. What I loved: Anika Larsen is so good as the mom, for me the best acting and the most developed character in the whole show. Also Solea Pfeiffer as Penny Lane was equal great parts of mysterious and vulnerable and a joy to watch, i just wish she had gotten more singing material. I liked the staging, it took some getting used to but it works and even the bus setting becomes cool. What didn’t work as well for me? I think the male casting left me wanting more. I got William’s understudy and as sweet as he was, as my friend said: he jsut does not have the star power to carry the show. And I think that is what summarized it all for me – who carries the show? For me Drew Gheling, even though I have loved him in other shows, here he is too much of a caricature. Chris Wood, although is Very attractive and has a beautiful voice, plays the part quite subdued. I wasn’t becoming a fan of Stillwater nor understood the appeal, and William as a character wasn’t that engaging. The women stole the show, which although I find awesome, kind of doesnt make sense in the storyline. The other thing that was lacking a bit for me is the music. For a show about musicians, none of the songs felt very memorable to me, other than the obvious covers. Having not seen the movie, but definetly having seen the movie scene of Tiny dancer, The song in the show feels like nostalgia for the movie, but it does nothing for the advancement of the story or the great emotional situation that was happening before.

Only gold

Official Blurb: Told through a sweeping, transformative fusion of dance and theater, ONLY GOLD is a tale of love — lost, found, and rediscovered. This world premiere celebrates the virtuosic choreography of 3-time Tony Award-winner ANDY BLANKENBUEHLER against a vibrant score by pop sensation KATE NASH. Set amid the glamor of 1920s Paris, a royal family from a far-off land arrives with the hope that the city’s magical spark will rekindle the love between King and Queen, and reconnect Mother and Daughter. But following your heart comes with a price—is it too late to make a change? And what will it cost them along the way?

My take: This was a weird one to me. I am a big dance fan so I went into this purely because of its focus on dance and Andy Blankenbuehler. The dance did not disappoint. The choreography was stellar and the dancing was so absolutely beautiful. Every single dance was spectacular and Gabby Diaz and Ryan Steele just killed it with their movement. My issues came with what was surrounding it. I actually did not understand the purpose of Kate Nash narration on stage. I get that she is the composer, but as storytelling I think her narrator detracted instead of adding to the story. I get it with Kate Nash but if you want to remount it later it becomes a character without purpose. Give more singing to Hanna Cruz and Terrence Mann when you have those powerhouse vocals in the house. My conclusion might be that I am a dance fan but not a Kate Nash Fan? I just felt that the beauty that was happening on stage was being brought down with some of the side storylines. Well speaking of story the story was not smart, a could have been elevated fairytale that just played to all the cliches. Also the music was ok, but really did not bring the story forward at all – I feel this could have been done with better catalog music. Again ,maybe I’m just not a Kate Nash Fan.

It is worth seeing for the dancing alone, as the expressiveness of movement will carry with you for a while. Also i feel i might need to see it twice to get all of it because there was so mcuh happening I really couldn’t get my eyes to absorb everything, there was such depth of activity throughout the stage. Also big shoutout to the stage design by David Korins, it is gorgeous.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s