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"World Goes 'Round" Shines at Marriott!

Evoking the essence of one of Kander and Ebb’s most iconic ballads, the return of live theatre at Marriott Lincolnshire began as a quiet thing at the opening of “The World Goes ‘Round” on Wednesday night. There in the dim haze of a ghost light is revealed a massive, distressed stage theatre drape wrapped around a baton among abandoned set pieces, props and the remnants of a hasty exit and another time that seems so long ago. A stage trunk awaits at center stage. A stairway system at the head of one aisle. The remains of a piano that has seen better days in another. Chandeliers lofted high above the stage almost out of view.

But when Allison E. Blackwell enters, the solemn dustiness of the scene begins to fade away as efficiently as the ghost light dims, the curtain rises from its neglected state leaving Blackwell to launch into the emblematic title anthem, a triumphant statement that musical theatre can not be denied or delayed as the world goes ‘round and ‘round and ‘round.

No quiet thing anymore, particularly with resounding performances of Kander and Ebb’s most celebrated musical accomplishments, each one an homage to the power of creativity, music and live theatre; each successive tune inspiring us to embrace a broad new understanding of this fractured time. All that messy, worrisome, unraveling swept away to reveal the glorious, expressive and uplifting experience that artists and audience have been eagerly awaiting.

Roaring back to life in an exhilarating COVID-abridged version with no intermission, “The World Goes ‘Round” is performed by a multi-talented company of five actors—Blackwell, Joseph Anthony Byrd, Kevin Earley, Meghan Murphy and Amanda Rose—a showcase of rich and full-bodied arrangements from the team whose credits include Cabaret, Chicago, Kiss of the Spider Woman and Woman of the Year. Directed and choreographed by Marcia Milgrom Dodge, with set design by Christopher Rhoton, costumes by Sully Ratke, lighting by Jesse Klug and musical direction by Patti Garwood, the show is a non-stop evening of exhilarating entertainment.

Included are comic gems that speak to love and longing like “The Grass Is Always Greener”, “Sara Lee” and “Arthur in the Afternoon”; the soul-searching ballads “Mr. Cellophane”, Maybe This Time” and “I Don’t Remember You”/Sometimes a Day Goes By”; specialty ensemble numbers “Coffee in a Cardboard Cup,” “Ring Them Bells”; the familiar “All That Jazz”, “Kiss of the Spider Woman”, “Cabaret”, “Money, Money” and the iconic “New York, New York.”

There is something for everyone in Marriott’s high-stepping, emotional return that reminds us of the broad and significant contributions of Kander and Ebb to musical theatre and the careers of so many who have interpreted their music. That list includes Chita Rivera and a young Liza Minnelli who starred in the title role of their first Broadway show Flora The Red Menace which was a quiet thing all its own. Despite only 87 performances, Minnelli won the 1965 Tony Award, a harbinger of things to come.