Age is just a number in new Backstage Theatre play |

Age is just a number in new Backstage Theatre play

JENNIFER HARPERsummit daily news
Summit Daily/Kristin Skvorc Cast members of the play "Kimberly Akimbo" act out the Dungeons and Dragons scene during dress rehersal Wedensday at the Breckenridge Theatre. From left to right: Alissa Barry as Debra, Jonathan Nuessel as Jeff, Sandra Willis as Kimberly and Melissa Amato as Pattie. The play opens tonight at 7 p.m.

BRECKENRIDGE – Many 16-year-olds long to look older than they are but probably not 54 years older. That’s precisely the fate that befalls a teenage girl in the new Backstage Theatre production of “Kimberly Akimbo.”The show opened Thursday and runs Thursdays through Saturdays on alternating weeks through Sept. 4 at the Breckenridge Theatre, located at 121 South Ridge St.Set in suburban New Jersey, “Kimberly Akimbo” is a hilarious and poignant play about a teenager with a rare condition that causes her body to age four-and-a-half times faster than it should.

Audiences follow Kimberly on her journey to grow up on the inside, dealing with her selfish mother, drunken father, conniving aunt, a crush on a boy, the suspicious circumstances under which her family had to move away and an illness that has put an expiration date on her life.One of things that will strike audiences about “Kimberly Akimbo” is the incredible talent of all five members of this cast. She could have studied the movie “Clueless” or the show “The O.C.” or perhaps she just has teenagers of her own, but whatever the method, Sandra Willis phenomenally embodies a teenage persona in this play. From the “whatevers” and “That sucks!” to the terminal slouch and mood swings, this woman is a 16-year-old girl to the tee.

“Napoleon Dynamite” was probably an inspiration to Jonathan Nuessel and his portrayal of the adorably nerdy and funny Jeff, Kimberly’s classmate and quasi love interest. The narcissistic duo that raises Kimberly, Pattie and Buddy, played by Melissa Amato and Michael Martorano, are fabulously horrible parents to young Kimberly, although there are occasional flashes of attempts at good parenting. In between laughing out loud at the pair, audiences will want to smack them and call the Department of Family and Children’s Services on them.The scheming Aunt Debra (Alissa Barry), her thick Jersey accent and utter selfishness may annoy audiences, but that’s the point. The great acting is the sheer beauty of the annoyance.

Due to strong language and some of the material not being suited for children, mature audiences are recommended.Tickets are $15. For reservations, call (970) 453-0199.Jennifer Harper can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 248, or at

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

As a Summit Daily News reader, you make our work possible.

Now more than ever, your financial support is critical to help us keep our communities informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having on our residents and businesses. Every contribution, no matter the size, will make a difference.

Your donation will be used exclusively to support quality, local journalism.