Premiering on Broadway in 1991, And the World Goes ‘Round showcased iconic Kander & Ebb songs from Cabaret and Chicago to The Rink and The Act. It’s been staged by theatres consistently since, but over 30 years later, one issue could no longer be ignored: what about the works of Kander & Ebb since?
Actor and ArtsCentric director Kevin S. McAllister decided to produce the show with this in mind, updating the revue’s songbook to include pieces from Kiss of the Spider Woman (1992), Curtains (2006), and The Scottsboro Boys (2010). Co-produced between ArtsCentric, Everyman, and Olney Theatres, the new production, titled The World Goes ‘Round, made its debut on the Olney Theatre stage this April before traveling to Baltimore’s Everyman theatre where it runs June 6-July 2.
The 70’s game show-esque set uses bright lights and modern projections combining past and present as the aesthetic evokes nostalgia while the projections, highlighting interviews of Kander & Ebb creative colleagues like Chita Rivera and David Hyde Pierce remind us how far technology – and theatre – have progressed.
The 7-piece orchestra performs onstage on a bandstand that feels like a nod to Kander & Ebb’s longest-running show, Chicago on Broadway, seamlessly transitioning up- and downstage as each scene requires.
What could have been standard revue fare is transformed into a must-see (and will want to see again!) because of the careful, and at times, unexpected creative decisions put in the hands of a capable and passionate cast. It isn’t easy to sell a number like Chicago’s “Me and My Baby” while holding faux infants and playing nursery instruments a la Jimmy Fallon, but this cast treated the task with such gravity that what may be my least favorite song from Chicago had me rolling in laughter throughout.
The ensemble cast features Broadway veterans Natascia Diaz, Harris Milgrim, Salome Smith (taking over for local Nova Y. Payton), Kevin S. McAllister (director), and local favorite Karen Vincent. They remarkably complement one another as they transition from quintet to solo, dance duo to roller derby. Smith’s rendition of Cabaret’s “Maybe This Time” called for a mid-show standing ovation while McAllister’s improvisation (of pop singer Britney Spears at the performance I attended) had everyone in the room laughing, including his scene partner.
In McAllister’s own words, The World Goes ‘Round “offers a collection of short stories about love, life, and how we all get by.” In Kander and Ebb’s words from Cabaret, I recommend that you “come hear the music play.”
Tickets can be purchased starting at $29 at everymantheatre.org.
All photos by Teresa Castracane.
Theatre Writer for Baltimore OUTloud.
Bekah is a Baltimore-based ally who is obsessed with all things Broadway. In addition to written reviews, she creates social media theatre content @broadwaybekahchica. When she’s not at a show or organizing her Playbills, you can find her rehearsing with the New Wave Singers of Baltimore, enjoying stoop night with friends, or snuggled up with her husband and pets.
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