As Middle Alison, Jessica Kahkoska makes great work of the endless self-contradiction that is college life. Her sparkling, lusty “Changing My Major” is the first standout song of the night.
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As the tamer Nina, Jessica Kahkoska displays incredible vocal range along with a necessary vulnerability in the part; she’s emotionally wounded, a humbled hero dropout who doesn’t want to disappoint her family. Nina must make some hard choices, especially after leaving college much to her parents’ consternation, and in the sure hands of the lovely Kahkoska, her storyline resonates. And her songs are breathtaking. “Breathe” as sung by Kahkoska is stellar, her “Everything I know” second to none, and her start of the heartbreaking “Alabanza” is the highlight of the show.
Jessica Kahkoska is sweet and endearing as Nina, the ambitious and determined young woman who managed to stand out among her friends, earning a scholarship to Stanford. There’s passion in her voice when she sings “Breathe” and interacts with her strict but concerned parents and her boyfriend, Benny.
Jessica Kahkoska is the only woman on stage, and she takes no back seat to her four male counterparts. She can rock the music with all of them, and she can sing a sweet solo (Waiting on the Far Side Banks of Jordan) that can bring tears to your eyes.
Meanwhile, Nina (Jessica Kahkoska, making an impressive American Stage debut) has returned after dropping out of Stanford University because the workload was too much.
Another standout is Jessica Kahkoska (princess). A transfixing Kahkoska delivers her arias with soloist perfection.