These days, if I am motivated by the creative aspects of a project or a musical opportunity, I am making myself write about it. The first half of my career has been about chasing leads and trying to get ahead, whatever that means in this industry. I am determined to make the second half about being satisfied musically through my playing and through the work that I do. It's pretty much a given that I would write a small post about the Off-Broadway musical that I have been a small part of, Kid Victory.
With a pit of ten musicians and an equally small cast, Kid Victory is a dream chamber music experience and a substantial musical in one somber, but gorgeous, package. John Kander's score is one of my favorites out of the many he has written, and is perfect for the subject matter. The theater is a perfect venue and encompasses the small nature of what the book is about. There are a few great reviews that delve into the plot points but, without giving too much detail, I want to share what it's been like to sub there.
My friend Aaron Korn was nice enough to think of me as a sub here because it happens to be walking distance from my apartment. That part of the project has been rather nice! But even nicer has been playing the horn book, which was orchestrated by Michael Starobin. One can imagine that a pit of ten players would demand some soft playing on occasion, and this book is written in a way that it's easy to become a part of the two woodwind players, or to blend in with the strings as a second violist or cellist. The pit is made up of ten of the nicest musicians ever to play in close quarters.
The recurring themes are crucial to the plot, and it's great to play in a small situation where the horn is used as a versatile color, not only as a filler voice or occasional soloist. The use of mutes as color is also impressive and thought-provoking, as are the charts that they occur in. I love this production because everything is small enough that it is all connected on an artistic level. For example, a theme is played on a certain instrument and a part of a character's journey will come to light. While the pit has almost no view of the stage, I would be interested to see what kind of lighting, choreography, and staging reflect these themes as well.
The subject matter is modern and quite heavy. It would be really easy to write music that would reflect this tone, but the genius of Kander is that there are echoes of Chicago, Cabaret, and many different genres of music, so that one leaves humming the main two bar theme of the show, but many different shades of music ring in the back of one's head. I draw parallels between this show and some of the great TV dramas that we are experiencing in this Golden Age of Television. The comprehensiveness of this as an artistic endeavor is something special and I hope to see and hear more shows like this as the future of the Broadway Musical, even if there isn't a horn book!
So if you find yourself free this weekend, try to pop by the Vineyard Theatre on E. 15th to catch one of the last shows, as they close on Sunday the 19th. If you can't make it down, be on the lookout for the cast recording, coming soon! And thanks again Aaron for having me in!