Victor & Penny hail from Kansas City, Missouri, America’s roaring 1920s “Paris of the Plains.” With tight vocal harmonies, a fiery ukulele and a red-hot jazz guitar, Victor & Penny bring a modern voice to prohibition era jazz and clever original tunes. Celebrating a time when style mattered, antique pop duo Victor & Penny impress and delight with charm and hot licks - they are "...an absolute rollicking blast." Victor & Penny were 2013 Escape-To-Create artists-in-residence in Seaside, FL. The duo is touring the USA again in 2014 having spent over 200 days on the road in 2013.
Victor & Penny are Jeff Freling (Blue Man Group, Chicago) and Erin McGrane (George Clooney's, "Up in the Air" and cabaret troupe Alacartoona).
What makes Kansas City a great place for creativity and innovation?
Both: There is a spirit of collaboration and cooperation in KC that we don’t see in other places. We spend most of the year on the road, having traveled tens of thousands of miles in the last few years, and Kansas City is unique. There is a spark, an excitement, a sense of hope and hard work that is fueling us and drawing people to our city.
What is your favorite spot in Kansas City?
Erin: I love the lawn of the Nelson-Atkins Museum. I used to live across the street from the museum and day or night it’s a magical, peaceful place. The Roxy Paine sculpture, “Ferment” on the lawn is one of my favorite art pieces anywhere.
Jeff: I’m really enjoying our downtown apartment. We love coming home to Kansas City and the downtown area is hopping like it hasn’t ever been in my lifetime. It’s an exciting time to live in the city center.
Where's your favorite place outside of Kansas City?
Erin: One of the best things about traveling has been seeing the U.S. by car. I love the western states and especially northern California and Oregon. If I had to pick just one place, the Grand Canyon is truly stunning.
Jeff: The Grand Canyon. Wow.
What's your most treasured possession?
Erin: My most treasured possession is my father’s 1952 Hofner ukulele. This is the instrument that began Victor & Penny and it means the world to me. I have memories from my childhood when my Dad would sing and play to me on this ukulele. He gave it to me several years ago and learning to play it has brought my Dad and me closer together.
Jeff: My 1960s Kay guitar. Matt Kessler at Midwestern Musical Co. introduced me to it when I needed to borrow an instrument for a show. After the third time I borrowed it, I knew it was going to be mine.
Who's your favorite fictional hero?
Erin: There’s so many to choose from, but I’ll say Sissie Hankshaw from, “Even Cowgirls Get the Blues” by Tom Robbins.
Who do you most admire in real-life?
Erin: My Mom, Nancy McGrane. She was my mentor, supporter and truth-teller. She was compassionate, kind and lived in service to others. She led her life with grace and dignity and met her death with the same.
Jeff: My partner Erin. Her spirit, determination and strength of character inspire me to work at the edge of my ability every day.
When and where are you happiest?
Both: Driving around in our car, singing and playing music and seeing the country together.