**** Recommended **** I am so glad that theaters are reopening. Returning to the Marriott felt a lot like a hug from a friend I hadn’t seen in such a long time – without the actual hug! Then I got to sit back, relax and enjoy Marriott Theatre’s triumphant return to the stage. The World Goes ‘Round: The Songs of Kander and Ebb, a five-person revue isn’t the usual musical extravaganza we’ve come to expect at Marriott, but there’s still a lot to enjoy! Casting, costumes, choreograph, staging – oh my! I loved this show and you will too! 4 BIG Spotlights
The World Goes ‘Round: The Songs of Kander and Ebb opened off-Broadway in 1991 and ran for a year before going on tour. I thought I knew a lot about Kander & Ebb, after all they wrote shows like Cabaret, Funny Lady, Chicago and Kiss of the Spider Woman, but this show featured a lot of songs I’d never heard before.
Since Marriott is theater-in-the-round, the stage is front and center, so the set is usually limited to the outside edges of the stage. Christopher Rhoton has come up with a unique design for an abandoned theater which actually includes set pieces – an unlit ghost lamp, a fallen curtain, an old trunk, a sunken piano – onstage while various pieces of broken equipment lie around the edges.
Allison E. Blackwell walks into that abandoned theater, lays her mask on an old trunk, and begins to sing the title song, And the World Goes ‘Round, from the film, New York, New York. As she sings, the fallen curtain angles up and the ghost lamp lights. As she concludes, the rest of the cast, Joseph Anthony Byrd, Kevin Early, Meghan Murphy and Amanda Rose, runs on stage, hugging each other and yelling “We’re back!
Some of my favorites:
- Coffee in a Cardboard Cup (70. Girls, 70) – the company dances a frenetic salute to our fast-paced, throwaway lives
- Sara Lee (The Act) – Joseph Anthony Byrd serenades a grocery cart filled with his favorite dessert. The ladies of the company, wearing pink poufy costumes trimmed with strawberries and oversized white hats trimmed in raspberries, add a Ziegfeld touch to the dance
- Ring Them Bells (Liza with a Z) – Meghan Murphy sparkles as she introduces us to Shirley, a New Yorker (accent and all). At the appropriate line in the song, the rest of the cast rings their bells (on wrists and waists) with Fosse-esque dance moves.
- All That Jazz (Chicago) – Wearing a sparkly red concoction, Amanda Rose sings one of my all-time favorite songs backed up by the company
- The Grass Is Always Greener (Woman of the Year) – Allison, in glamorous evening clothes and Meghan in a robe, slippers and a turban compare their lives.
- Kiss of the Spider Woman (Kiss of the Spider Woman) – Kevin picks up an old rag from floor, starts putting it on, and it becomes a hoop skirted dress
Wearing glamorous evening wear (men in tuxes, the women in sequin-covered gowns), the Company gathers to sing a rather reflective Cabaret, then toast two empty director’s chairs, one labeled Kander, the other Ebb, as they segue into the finale, an enthusiastic New York, New York.
Kudos to Director/Choreographer Marcia Milgrom Dodge! We all needed to bring back music and dance, and “The World Goes ‘Round” does just that.
Note: Guests must show proof of vaccination before entering the theater. Guests are required to wear masks while inside the building.
“The World Goes ‘Round” runs through November 7th at the Marriott Theatre, 10 Marriot Drive, Lincolnshire. Parking is free; valet parking is also available. Running time is 90 minutes, no intermission.
Performances are Wednesdays at 1:00 and 7:30 pm; Thursdays at 7:30 pm; Fridays at 8:00 pm; Saturdays at 4:00 and 8:00 pm; Sundays at 1:00 and 5:00 pm. There are a limited number of dinner-theatre packages available on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Tickets range from $50-$60. FYI (847) 634-0200, www.ticketmaster.com or www.marriotttheatre.com.