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All are well performed by a skilled and honest cast of total pros...

At the end of Act 1 of “Curtains,” the 2006 musical with a score by John Kander and Fred Ebb, there’s an inestimably gorgeous song called “I Miss the Music.” Ebb died before “Curtains” was completed and Kander’s song is, in essence, a lament of the loss of a lifelong creative partner. “I miss the music,” goes the aching lyric. “I miss my friend. No need to ask me what I prefer. I choose the music I wrote with her.”

That song, which could just as well refer to the loss of a parent, child or partner, greatly occupied this critic’s mind for 90 minutes or so on Wednesday night in Lincolnshire, where the Marriott Theatre, generally a 52-weeks-a-year operation, and employer of actors, returned to live performance after an absence of some 18 months.

The theater did not come roaring back with a big show — that will follow, presumably, with “Kiss Me, Kate” in November. This one is a smaller project, the five-actor Kander and Ebb revue known as “The World Goes ‘Round,” as performed here by Allison E. Blackwell, Joseph Anthony Byrd, Kevin Earley, Meghan Murphy and Amanda Rose. This isn’t even the whole show: the Marriott is presenting a specially COVID-abridged version allowing for no intermission. On opening Wednesday, the house appeared to be about two-thirds full, a healthy turnout, for sure, although not quite the festive mood of opening nights at this particular theater across the years. We are not yet there.

“I Miss the Music” is not sung in “The World Goes ‘Round,” because the revue (which has gone through a couple of versions) dates back to the 1990s. But this particular production ends with a nod to empty chairs with the names Kander and Ebb, and you cannot help but wish that the actors would break into this particular song, given that Ebb is gone and Kander is now 94.

There’s another obvious reason, of course. I have greatly missed the music, as performed in the commercial musical houses of the Chicago suburbs with their yearslong tradition of entertaining the people of Chicagoland and building the careers of stellar Chicago professionals. I’ve been going to them for a quarter century and it felt good to be back under the musical surety of Patti Garwood.

The Marriott’s director, Marcia Milgrom Dodge, plays on the theme of return at the start of the show. Blackwell walks out on a set by Christopher Rhoton that seems to depict a theater frozen in time, as so many of them have been. “Sometimes your dreams get broken in pieces,” she sings. “But that doesn’t matter at all. Take it from me, there’s still going to be ... a summer, a winter, a spring and a fall.”

Tres apropos.

From there, the conceit sometimes gets split between a vaudevillian style and the more interesting meta-contemporary notions with which the show starts (the costumes, by Sully Ratke, are arrestingly complicated).

The actual selections in this revue are light on ballads and I could make a list of other worthy Kander and Ebb songs I’d rather hear now that some of the content chosen here. But there are still riches: “All That Jazz,” “Maybe This Time,” “My Coloring Book.” All are well performed by a skilled and honest cast of total pros: a mere pandemic has yet to excise my memory of Murphy in “City of Angels” on this very stage and she anchors things beautifully here again.

Frankly, the more emotion the actors revealed, the better the show worked. That’s the current mood of our world, going round and round still.