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Kid Victory

Members say: Intense, Absorbing, Great acting, Ambitious, Thought-provoking
73
Critics
68
37 reviews
Members
74
156 reviews
 

The Vineyard Theatre presents the NY premiere of this haunting musical about the reemergence of a missing teenager by Tony-winning composer John Kander ('Cabaret,' 'Chicago') and lyricist/playwright Greg Pierce.... Read more

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. Directed by Tony nominee Liesl Tommy and featuring Tony winner Karen Ziemba. This show contains mature and graphic content and may not be suitable for patrons under 15.

 



Reviews (193)

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
68
Avg Score

45
The New York Times

"A small, uneasily assembled production...The subject of 'Kid Victory' feels especially unpromising for any musical that doesn’t aspire to grim, grand (guignol) opera or creepy camp. And this definitely has other aspirations, toward a laudable but elusive psychology delicacy...Mr. Kander mines a number of musical veins, including the jaunty jazz and vaudeville pastiches for which he is best known, with results that are scattered, a bit bewilderingly, among the characters." Full Review

95
Theatermania

"This new musical employs Kander's instantly recognizable Broadway sound to tell a story that is contemporary, relevant, and brave. The result is the most exciting new musical of the season...Through his consistently lovely music, Kander conveys the discord between what should be and what is...Director Tommy smartly augments the emotional whiplash of the score with her clear and efficient staging...Flynn leads the cast with an unforgettably angst-ridden performance." Full Review

70
BroadwayWorld

"As orchestrated by Starobin, much of his music offers a chamber quality that enhances the skin-crawling tone of director Tommy's sensitive and extremely well-acted production...Pierce shows himself to be a capable storyteller in his book and lyrics, but the musical suffers from being more about people's reactions to Luke rather than revealing more of Luke himself. Still, it's a daring subject choice for musicalization and there's enough good work to fascinate, if not completely satisfy." Full Review

60
Time Out New York

"The show manages to navigate its subject’s minefield of potential mortification. Much credit for that belongs to Brandon Flynn, the sensitive but never maudlin young actor...Kudos also go to librettist Greg Pierce and composer John Kander, who nimbly thread a narrow needle...The songs often seem truncated or extraneous. If 'Kid Victory' doesn’t embarrass itself a musical, neither does it offer, in the end, compelling reasons for being one." Full Review

60
The Guardian (UK)

"Little about the show’s psychology feels likely or lived in, which makes it difficult to access the work emotionally, despite some simple, lovely melodies from Kander and their mournful, reed-heavy orchestrations...The director, Liesl Tommy, and the scenic designer, Clint Ramos, make one terrific choice, setting the whole of the show in Michael’s basement, suggesting that Luke’s escape is incomplete. But Tommy encourages most of the actors to exaggerate their assigned traits." Full Review

40
The Hollywood Reporter

"A disjointed, tedious effort, which is hardly enhanced by Kander’s atypically underwhelming score...The storyline generally feels confusing, overly cluttered with incidents and minor characters that don’t add much to the overall impact...Under Liesl Tommy's direction, the acting is fine...But the performers’ efforts are undercut by a show that strains for emotional profundity and instead seems merely exploitative." Full Review

80
DC Theatre Scene

"'To the west of pain is a paradise.' It is an intriguing, provocative suggestion that may make theatergoers squirm, but it also invests the musical with an unusual compassion and psychological insight. 'Kid Victory' is aided by a universally impressive nine-member cast that director Liesl Tommy has assembled...Kander employs his arsenal of blues and hymns, ballads and dirges to tell a story that might work without any music, but stays with you all the more because of it." Full Review

90
Lighting & Sound America

"Greg Pierce and John Kander have done a very daring thing, building a musical around a character who can't express himself in song...Under Liesl Tommy's sure-handed direction, aided by Christopher Windom's choreography, the action moves across time and in and out of Luke's mind with the fluidity of a dream; she has also pulled together a first-rate cast of newcomers and old Broadway hands...Unusual and extraordinarily powerful musical." Full Review

60
Front Row Center

"The cast is superb. They are a perfect ensemble and carry out the task of handling this meandering material brilliantly. As the breadcrumb trail wanders, there are some seriously odd musical numbers...One gets the feeling that the ingredients of this tale were pulled off the shelf and used to fill the pot on the stove, rather than satisfy a palette. Too much blather and not enough specificity." Full Review

55
Talkin' Broadway

"Kander and Pierce don't present a convincing case as to why this material needs to sing at all...It also doesn't help that Luke doesn't sing; this may successfully alienate him from those around him, but limits how far we're able to dig into who he is...Tommy's production is slick, fluidly staged as a swift-running stream of consciousness...Being not boring and being transformative are two very different things, however, and 'Kid Victory' does not come close to the latter." Full Review

65
Theatre's Leiter Side

"The work of 89-year-old John Kander...and Greg Pierce....dives into the dark waters of a teenager's sexual enslavement; the results, though, may not be as deep as the subject warrants...Despite its imaginative staging...the piece never fully coheres. It veers from being predominantly musical, with the dialogue in recitative mode, to long passages, especially one toward the end, without any music at all." Full Review

40
New York Daily News

"If that doesn’t sound like a story that naturally sings — and themes of religion and sexuality only add to that — the creators haven’t provided a persuasive case that it does. Despite a talented, hard-working cast, songs far too often stop the show dead in its tracks. 'Kid Victory' is a drama taken captive by pretty toe-tappers and romantic ballads that clash with the narrative." Full Review

80
Times Square Chronicles

"The cast is first-rate...Brandon Flynn is a star and we totally follow him as he breaks our hearts with his disconnect...Kander’s score is hauntingly beautiful. The lyrics and the emotionality of this score capture this journey and it is like dropping down a rabbit hole. There are pieces of Mr. Pierce’s and Mr. Kander’s story that needed more...This show is not for everybody, but it is well done, speaks to issues that society would like to bury underneath a rug and does so with respect." Full Review

35
Deadline

"It’s a mess, and the disturbing subject is the least of the problems in this show...Kander’s music is beautiful and this amazing composer has been liberated, whether by change of partner or his own intellectual progression, into a more Sondheimian palette of tone and melody...Nothing else about 'Kid Victory' makes sense, unless one buys into the unsavory suggestion that sometimes Stockholm Syndrome is just another marker on the road to adulthood." Full Review

70
CurtainUp

"While still short of the Kander and Ebb magic, 'Kid Victory' is an intriguing, psychologically complex story that's effectively staged by Liesl Tommy and well performed by the 9-member cast...Even though the flow from narrative dialogue into song and back again isn't always as organic as it should be, there are some lovely songs that I'd like to hear again...If I were putting together a must-see list of new musicals, it wouldn't place near the top, but I'm glad I saw it." Full Review

75
Newsday

"A small, dark, tight chamber musical with thoughtful lyrics by Greg Pierce...It’s the religious community/Greek chorus, alas, that the creators and director Liesl Tommy encourage to surround Luke with oblivion, ignorance and zealous stereotypes...This isn’t a big commercial musical, but it takes on a radioactive subject without exploitation and finds some human music in it." Full Review

80
Theatre Reviews Limited

"The well-crafted choreography and the intriguing book, lyrics, and music counterpoint the heinous histories of Luke’s experiences in his home and his 'home away from home' on his captor’s island...The cast is uneven vocally but succeed overall in delivering their musical numbers...Liesl Tommy’s intricate and compassionate direction put Mr. Flynn’s Luke at the center of this story and assure that his cast works as hard as he does to make 'Kid Victory' the important piece of theatre it is." Full Review

65
NorthJersey.com

"A pleasing, wide-ranging musical score by the legendary John Kander and less satisfactory book and lyrics by Greg Pierce...Flynn makes Luke’s circumstance enormously affecting, but 'Kid Victory' doesn’t work very well as a musical...Numbers often seem tangential to the mood of the evening...Despite that, 'Kid Victory' offers a vivid portrait of a tortured soul." Full Review

83
TheaterScene.net

"Following Kander and Pierce's first collaboration, the three part 'The Landing,' also seen in NYC at the Vineyard, their new show, 'Kid Victory,' is for minority tastes but will keep you riveted to your seat if you have the stomach for the strong content." Full Review

60
The Wrap

"Kander, Pierce, and director Liesl Tommy are superb when they keep things simple...Kander is famous for giving his musicals a showbiz structure, but the razzle-dazzle here jars...Luke never sings in 'Kid Victory.' Are Pierce and Kander saying that his problems are beyond the limits of music? Or are they not up to the task? Less can be more, but with a subject this painfully big, you have to deliver more." Full Review

75
Bob's Theater Blog

"To my surprise, I liked Greg Pierce’s book far more than John Kander’s music. In general, I did not think the music either heightened emotions or advanced the plot...The cast is uniformly strong and the story is consistently interesting. Liesl Tommy’s direction is mostly assured, but occasionally leaves characters doing nothing for long periods. I admire Kander and Pierce for taking on such a difficult subject, but am not sure that musicalizing it was the best approach." Full Review

78
Front Mezz Junkies

"Nothing of the plot screams, write a song about this. And maybe that’s why it packs the punch that it does. It is by no means perfect, and there are difficulties of flow throughout, but it certainly is a captivating story...Skillfully directed by Liesl Tommy...Many of the other numbers vary in their successful integration with the story but all sound magnificent in structure and performance." Full Review

55
Broadway & Me

“It isn't clear why the collaborators have decided to tell this tale or what they want it to say...The music is similarly ambiguous, failing to settle on a sound that captures the emotional experience of this show…Some of the new melodies are lovely...And Pierce's lyrics are fine, some of them quite clever. But none of it really commands the ear or lingers there…Still, the acting is strong and it's particularly nice to see such stage vets as Ziemba and Denman get a chance to shine once again.” Full Review

55
Theatre is Easy

"The story thinks it’s more mysterious than it is...But director Lisel Tommy is uncharacteristically on the nose...The musical also treats Michael, the captor, with a strange kind of empathy that feels icky. 'Kid Victory' is worth seeing for some tender moments with Flynn and his father, played by Daniel Jenkins...I’m left wondering why a musical, with precision blocking, tap dancing, and all the obviousness that comes with the genre, makes sense for this story." Full Review

85
Theater Pizzazz

"This is a complicated story with a superior cast of actors. Brandon Flynn plays the tortured Lucas – his every emotion vividly alive and readable...The wonderfully talented Liesl Tommy directs this cast as if slowly and purposely pouring out a fine bottle of wine to be savored. There’s much more to say, but to reveal it would be to diminish an entire emotional journey you should not miss. Make sure you get a ticket to see 'Kid Victory.'" Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
74
Avg Score

83
Intense, Entertaining, Engaging, Unexpected, Morose

See it if You want a non-traditional musical about darker themes that isn't afraid to look at the topic in a different light.

Don't see it if You're averse to the topic of abuse and looking at it from different angles. Or you're expecting a musical with full songs (most are 1 min).

75
Ambitious, Edgy, Intelligent, Intense, Relevant

See it if you like the musicals of John Kander, can accept a dark story with both downbeat and upbeat music, are not put off by troubling scenes.

Don't see it if you want a happy tale where problems are resolved for all, are sensitive to dangers teens face on the Internet, don't like John Kander music

78
Ambitious, Intense, Thought-provoking, Good acting, Good staging

See it if Kander & Pierce's brave attempt to musicalize sexual predator story engrosses despite weak score & book Actors work hard to flesh out roles

Don't see it if Despite chamber quality, more complexity needed to sustain story but Tommy's staging grounds work & Flynn and Denham are exceptionally good

88
Ambitious, Great acting, Intense, Great staging, Terrifying

See it if You are a fan of the horror genre. You enjoy shows in which the hero is shown in horrific circumstances. Stockholm Syndrome is of interest

Don't see it if Characters in frightening, dangerous or circumstances not of their choosing will upset you. You are looking for a traditional happy ending.

63
Ambitious, Dizzying, Edgy, Indulgent, Disappointing

See it if you're a fan of John Kander's and have to see all of his works.

Don't see it if you're turned off by abduction stories or music that is disconnected from the book (I thought I was watching two different shows).

Also With the exception of the terrific lead, the performances were lacklus... Read more Read less

71
Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Confusing, Slow, Great singing

See it if you like pensive, nontraditional musicals that dive deep into the psyche of one character

Don't see it if you want well-rounded, non-stereotypical secondary characters or need shows to have momentum and plot to be entertained

85
Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Great writing, Great singing

See it if You are ready for a dark musical about a serious topic that appears on L&O SVU, but often happens in the gay-cyber-underground.

Don't see it if You dislike homosexuality; Are very religious; Get offended by Midwest parodies; Expect a big musical w/choreography.

Also Parents who watch this show should leave with a need to decide the que... Read more Read less

95
Absorbing, Edgy, Riveting, Great writing, Very dark

See it if you like musical theatre that will challenge you and leave you emotionally conflicted. This show is edgy, dark, and ultimately satisfying.

Don't see it if you dislike shows where the "bad guy" is portrayed with empathy, you don't like controversial subject matter, you don't like dark musicals.

Also The subject matter of the show left me with a pit in my stomach, and I... Read more Read less

85
Dark, Absorbing, Intense, Thought-provoking, Disturbing

See it if you like serious, heavy musicals; you're a fan of John Kander .

Don't see it if you don't want to see a musical dealing with the kidnapping of a teenager.

75
Original, Absorbing

See it if you like John Kander's music. Interesting music, but much of it is too "perky" and doesn't fit the plot.

Don't see it if you don't like "small" musicals, in that they are more focused on the plot rather than the lighting and set.

78
Absorbing, Great acting, Intense

See it if You appreciate a blend of music and great acting in an unexpected context.

Don't see it if You don't like feeling uncomfortable in the theater and your idea of a great musical is Phantom.

72
Ambitious, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Resonant, Well staged

See it if you liked the movie ROOM and can imagine a musical on such subject matter.

Don't see it if you want to leave the theatre humming or smiling.

67
Dark, Ambitious, Edgy, Disturbing, Dismal

See it if You like the score to Assassins. And like a relentless, dark, disturbing journey about a high school boy being abducted and abused.

Don't see it if Want to feel happy or hopeful.

90
Absorbing, Great acting, Profound, Great singing

See it if want to see both Kander at his peak and a sad tale that has become so typical of today's world.

Don't see it if you are not up to dismaying scenes re: too often current problems. It is not a joyous musical. A new talent is born (non-singing role)

65
Disappointing

See it if you are interested in Kander's work; are patient to hear a very good cast perform mediocre work; already subscribed to Vineyard.

Don't see it if you expect lyrically interesting music, and a well developed script. Kander is better than this. Has potential unrealized.

Also The story line is brave and the cast is excellent but there is so litt... Read more Read less

96
Absorbing, Intelligent, Riveting

See it if you like Kander's music which was terrific, interesting story about teenager finding himself after terrifying experience, very serious stuff

Don't see it if you are uncomfortable with gay themes, with older man and younger boy, with some physical abuse.There is so much more to the story !

Also Plot takes twists and turns that are not expected which makes for rive... Read more Read less

83
Thought-provoking, Moving, Great music, So so lyrics, Schocking

See it if Great acting. Shocking dark theme. Multifaceted plot. Sad and claustrophobic as it should be.

Don't see it if Theme is not for everyone's sensibilities. But it is treated respectfully and intensely. The lyrics are not up to the level of the music

Also The issues of abduction, child abuse and Stockholm syndrome are heavy,... Read more Read less

75
Dark and creepy

See it if You are a fan of crime show tv & can deal with the intensity of a disturbing plot focused on the details & aftermath of child abduction plot

Don't see it if They don't get rid of the score. The songs seemed arbitrary and did not help advance the plot at all.

Also I know Kander is a legend and I am usually such a fan-- but in this ca... Read more Read less

66
Ambitious, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Resonant

See it if you like to see new musicals as they are being developed. This is an interesting but flawed piece. Music is great, book needs work.

Don't see it if you like musicals with dance numbers and big production values. This is a small, dark, thought provoking but ultimately unsatisfying show.

89
Poignant, Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Timely, Visceral

See it if you love Kander's music, love to see difficult subjects tackled on stage, want to feel genuine emotion again, are curious about Greg Pierce.

Don't see it if You're looking for a feel-good, good-time musical. This ain't it. If the subject of child abduction cuts too close to the bone for you.

Also I scored this higher than most of my compatriots for several reasons. ... Read more Read less

65
Ambitious, Indulgent, Disappointing, Excruciating, Cliched

See it if You are a Kander fan and just want to see whatever he writes before we loose him

Don't see it if You are looking for thought provoking smart theater with music that is fresh

50
Intense, Excruciating, Cliched, Disturbing, Misguided

See it if you like to support new musicals and don't mind shows with dark and disturbing content

Don't see it if you're averse to bad dialogue and overall writing, forgettable songs, archetypal characters, misguided attempts to explore sensitive topics

Also They tried, but it simply didn't work. The cast is very talented, but ... Read more Read less

86
Absorbing, Great acting, Intense, Riveting

See it if you want to see great acting. Brandon Flynn, the lead actor, will have a huge career.

Don't see it if you find it too hard to watch a predatory relationship or conflicted sexuality.

75
Absorbing, Edgy, Thought-provoking, Great singing

See it if like musicals that are willing to explore very emotionally painful material.

Don't see it if dark, painful subject matter bothers you.

41
Bizarre, inappropriate,

See it if you're a Kander completist, or if you, know, you like pedophile musicals.

Don't see it if you'd rather not be weirded out. Not sure who thought this was a good idea.