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Music Review

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Kid Victory
Original Off-Broadway Cast Recording


Music: John Kander
Lyrics: Greg Pierce
Book: Greg Pierce
Performed by: Brandon Flynn, Karen Ziemba, Daniel Jenkins, Jeffry Denman (and Dee Roscioli
Label: Broadway Records
RRP: £12.99
Release Date: 29 September 2017

John Kander is not afraid of the dark. That much is clear to anyone familiar with any of his works. As one half of the writing tour de force that brought us Cabaret, Chicago and Kiss Of The Spiderwoman, he brought us music that perfectly spanned the gap between awkward and difficult subjects, and Broadway. Since his long-time partner Ebb’s death, he’s continued to push what you would normally expect from a Broadway score. So, you may argue, have his now-contemporarys.

Kander and Ebb once said they always wanted to produce unique shows, not ones that could be considered ‘copies’ of their previous creations. And whilst this is ‘new’ it’s clearly Kander. And that’s a good thing.

The show I’m talking to is Kid Victory, the newest musical from four-time Tony winning composer John Kander and librettist Greg Pierce. It centres around seventeen-year old Luke returns to his small Kansas town after a wrenching one-year absence. As his friendship grows with the town misfit, Emily, his parents realize that in order to truly find their son, they must confront some unnerving truths about his disappearance.

Starring Brandon Flynn (Netflix's 13 Reasons Why), Tony Award winner Karen Ziemba (Contact, Curtains), Tony nominee Daniel Jenkins (Big River), Drama Desk nominee Jeffry Denman (The Producers), Dee Roscioli (Wicked), as well as theatre favourites Ann Arvia, Joel Blum, and newcomers Laura Darrell and Blake Zolfo, the cast recording is produced by Grammy nominee and 10-time Emmy winner Michael Croiter, and released by the label all should be measuring themselves against, Broadway Records.

If you read up beforehand on the story being portrayed in this musical, it’s not an easy listen. What it is, is a very moving and rewarding listen. Kander has a way to make a score sound new, and like it was written years ago, all in one. I don’t think there’s any greater living composer of musicals that can do that. This is classic Kander here - and wrapped up in Michael Starobin’s glorious orchestrations. The orchestra of 10 sounds full and rich.

To start picking out cast for worthy mentions is a hard job - they are all excellent. I can’t comment on ‘Kid’ Flynn’s performance, as curiously the lead character doesn’t get to sing. Most certainly a unique situation for a musical. I have to mention Dee Roscioli though as Emily, as she delivers some of the best numbers in the show, and I adored ‘People Like Us’.

There are some wonderful songs in this musical, and I was surprised given the subject matter - I expected a darker sounding score. ‘There Was A Boy’ is beautiful, and warmly delivered by Karen Ziemba, and 'What’s The Point’ is also a great number. A thought-provoking, moving score perfectly captured by Broadway Records.


Ian Gude

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