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The music of these two men [Kander and Ebb] is powerful, romantic, and very well known

We have entered the “post-covid” world of LIVE theater. Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire has opted to resume their season with a musical revue “The World Goes Round- the Songs of Kander & Ebb”, a five person, 90 minutes tribute to 50 years of music by these men. In many ways, this is the perfect way to come-back. A small cast and a 90 minute show for an audience that has been away from theater for over 18 months. Since Marriott is adhering to all the CDC rules, masks are worn for the entire 90 minutes by the audience. The ensemble, of course is maskless in Lincolnshire.

When we enter the theater, we see a set that appears to be an abandoned theater. The stage has all kinds of broken furniture, including a piano, a trunk, lights, props and costumes. We get the picture that for the past 18 months, there has been no one in this place and the only light is the “ghost light” on the stage.  The musical , “The World Goes Round” was devised in 1991 (hard to believe, 30 years ago) by Scott Ellid, Susan Stroman and David Thompson. It is a celebration of the work that Kander & Ebb brought to our stages, from “Cabaret” to “Chicago”, “Flora, The Red Menace”, “The Kiss of the Spiderwoman” and even their last “The Visit”.

Songs such as “Coffee in a Cardboard Cup”, “Only Love/Marry Me”, “Maybe This Time”, “Money, Money” and a host of others, all brought to life by five amazing singers/performers: Allison E. Blackwell, Joseph Anthony Byrd, Kevin Earley, Amanda Rose and Meghan Murphy (AKA “Big Red”).

The production is directed and choreographed by Marcia Milgrom Dodge, who uses the round stage to the best advantage and makes the sight lines great from all four sections.

The set (Christopher Rhoton) truly makes you see the emptiness that a performer would feel when re-entering a theater after 18 months. Sully Ratke’s costumes are amazing and the quick changes the performers make are amazing (they must have a myriad of dressers backstage). Sally Zack’s props are perfect and as always Jesse Klug’s lighting is perfect. Michael Daley’s sound is right on (even without my hearing aids, I heard every sound and every lyric). As always, the music is supervised and conducted by Patti Garwood with Ryan T. Nelson as Music Director.

What makes this comeback terrific? The music of these two men is powerful, romantic, and very well known. Just think about some of their lyrics- From “Cabaret” “life is a cabaret , old chum”. From the song “New York, New York”, “If I can make it here, I’ll make it anywhere”. These are phrases we hear regularly.

I am sure that a number of subscribers expected a full scale musical for Marriott’s return. Paramount in Aurora did this, but being an “arena” where the audience is very close to the actors, I think it was the right choice to put a revue on their stage. Let me say this to any subscriber who “passed” on seeing this production. “You truly missed a winner”!

The five cast members truly showed their range as they strutted their stuff. The concept that they used to re-imagine this revue is that the five performers reflect on what they missed, their relationships, their songs and dances (including a tribute to choreographer Bob Fosse (many Kander & Ebb shows were his choreography) with the black bowler hats and gloves.

The theme throughout is “The World Goes Round” (done several times) but we get to hear songs from all of their works and watch some of our favorite performers do things that you would never expect from them. The beauty of Live Theater truly shows as we watch these five people “do their thing”.

Songs like “Arthur in the Afternoon” done by Amanda who also does a stunning “All That Jazz” with help from the company. Meghan’s duet with Allison “The Grass is Always Greener” is a stitch, “Sara Lee” as done by Joseph who also does a great “Mister Cellophane” and the powerful handling of “Kiss of the Spider Woman” by Kevin. Roughly 28 musical numbers by five amazingly talented performers- 90 minutes of feeling that life is back and things will get better.