“World Goes ‘Round” Touches All the Bases
By Skip Sheffield
Kander & Ebb had a way with words and music. You can see and hear for yourself in “The World Goes ‘Round,” playing through Aug. 21 at the Rinker Playhouse of the Kravis Center.
Director Bruce Linser has set up the Rinker as a cozy cabaret, with tables down front, a bar in the lobby and the audience in seats on risers. The ensemble cast of five is uniformly excellent; each with his or her special appeal. Tenor Clay Cartland is the resident hunk. Michael Scott Ross is the slightly older everyman. Jinon Deeb has a powerful alto and facile comic talents. Lovely Shelly Keelor has a way with wistful dramatic numbers. Leah Sessa is the sexy ingénue and provider of the high soprano harmonies. Alone or together they are a force to be reckoned with.
Musical director and pianist Paul Reekie gets an amazing amount of sound from a five-piece onstage ensemble and even gets his own number; the self-deprecating “Mr. Cellophane” from “Chicago.”
“World Goes ‘Round” is not a “greatest hits” musical revue. John Kander and Fred Ebb struck gold with their musical “Cabaret” in 1966, but there are only three songs from that show, including its most hopeful dramatic song, “Maybe This Time.”
Much of “The World Goes ‘Round” are songs from musicals you probably never saw; such as Kander & Ebb’s first produced collaboration “Flora The Red Menace” from 1965, which yields the exquisitely lovely “A Quiet Thing.” That show marked the debut of Liza Minnelli, with whom the composers enjoyed a long association.
“The Act” was written for Minnelli, and the cast has fun with the comedy number “Arthur in the Afternoon.”
“The Rink” was never a big success, but three songs are sung, including the title song which dictates the entire cast sings on roller skates. “Yes” is a song you can’t say no to, from the otherwise forgettable “70 Girls 70.”
Perhaps you have heard Barbra Streisand sing the melancholy “My Coloring Book,” which is given a moving rendition here.
Kander & Ebb’s most famous song is not from a stage musical but the Martin Scorsese motion picture “New York, New York.” The composers know of heartbreak, as they so eloquently put it in “Sometimes a Day Goes By.”
“World Goes By” is funny, moving, and always entertaining. It is an impressive contribution to our cultural life from MNM Productions.Tickets are $45 general admission and $60 table. Call 800-572-8471 or go to www.kravis.org