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BWW Review: THE WORLD GOES 'ROUND Kicks off Season at The Marriott Theatre


A fabulous celebration of the work by composer and lyricist duo Kander and Ebb.

BWW Review: THE WORLD GOES 'ROUND Kicks off Season at The Marriott Theatre

The opening number of The World Goes Round contains the lyrics, "Then one day it's kicks, then it's kicks in the shins

But the planet spins, and the world goes 'round."

If that does not conjure up what has happened to theater in the last two years, I don't know what does. Although the era of Covid was a kick in the shin to many of us, sitting in the audience of The World Goes Round was pure, unadulterated kicks. This lively revue featuring the work of legendary composer and lyricist duo Kander and Ebb exceeded my expectations in every possible way. As if the enormous talent of the actors was not enough, each piece was complete with choreography, elaborate costumes, lighting design, and more. Furthermore, each number seemed to be perfectly matched to each performer's unique gifts. From beginning to end, the five actors left it all on the stage as they sang, belted and tapped their way through numbers largely focused on love, loss, and looking for happiness in the wrong places.

Allison Blackwell set the tone for the evening as she brought the house down with "And the World Goes 'Round." This triumphantly powerful piece could not have provided a stronger start to the night with Blackwell at the helm. Her other solo, "My Coloring Book," showcased a softer but no less emotionally charged side of Blackwell's penchant for intensity.

Though he commanded the room with each song, Kevin Earley was most impressive in the haunting number, "Kiss of the Spider Woman" as he donned a cleverly disguised gown and swept across the stage, practically floating despite singing such a powerful piece. Each time Earley began to sing, his deep Bass voice rang out with strength and bravado. Though his powerful numbers were most memorable, his lighthearted antics as "Arthur" (In the Afternoon) proved to be a pleasant and lighthearted contrast.BWW Review: THE WORLD GOES 'ROUND Kicks off Season at The Marriott Theatre

They say that if "you've got moxie, you need the clothes to match"- and Meghan Murphy had both. When I recall her performance, I immediately think of spunk and strength, with a hint of rebelliousness mixed in. Her "Colored Lights" panged with longing and shone with a hopeful whimsy, and incredibly unique yet effective combination. Murphy's most dazzling number had to be "How Lucky Can You Get," where her joy turned to mourning as she explored her fabulous lifestyle and the drawbacks that came with it. Her fabulous white suit and hat were the cherry on top to this forceful number!

Like each of her companions, Amanda Rose brought her own performing style to the stage. Her peppy (and somewhat spicy) "Arthur in the Afternoon" proved to be a complement to her gentle and pensive "A Quiet Thing." Rose's fabulous dancing was featured again and again in the show, stunning the audience with her expert footwork. BWW Review: THE WORLD GOES 'ROUND Kicks off Season at The Marriott Theatre

Finally, no actor was quite as expressive as Joseph Anthony Byrd, whose comedic timing and spry energy had my attention rapt through each scene he was in. His joyful boyishness in "Sara Lee" was just as amusing as his dizzying footwork in "Shoes Dance" performed with Amanda Rose. Byrd's "Mister Cellophane" was one of my favorite renditions of this song I've seen to-date- he captured this emotive piece with a heartfelt intensity.

Though each performer was impressive in their solo numbers, nothing was more delightful than when all five took to the stage together. "Coffee in a Cardboard Cup" kicked off the company numbers with a fast-paced and lighthearted message, and by the end of the night "Cabaret" had your heart swelling with unrequited joy. These five unique entertainers had incredibly strong chemistry that seamlessly played off each other throughout the evening.

One of the most delightful elements of The World Goes 'Round experience was the live orchestra, expertly conducted by Patti Garwood. The live music brings such warm depth to the entire theatrical experience and is an especially unusual treat in such an intimate venue. Marcia Milgom Dodge expertly tackled both direction and choreography in this show, showing us what excellence in the theatre is supposed to look like. Each scene flowed so smoothly into the next that sometimes it was hard to discern where one song began and one ended.

A musical revue can be more intricate and complicated than a traditional musical because there is little to no continuity between scenes- meaning there is much more to do from a technical perspective! That being said, the lighting and costumes for this production were out of this world. Jesse Klug's lighting design was nothing short of marvelous, creating warmth and tension and everything in between as the musical numbers required. Costuming by Sully Ratke was utterly phenomenal. Whether it was a formal ballgown during a ballad, or top hats and white blazers during "Money, Money" - each new outfit (and there were so many!) was more eye-catching than the last. Finally, the set design for this show was perfect for a revue in the theater-in-the-round setting of The Marriott Theatre. Set Designer Christopher Rhoton delivered unique and versatile set pieces that were used over and over again in a myriad of different ways.

Whether you're a musical theatre neophyte or aficionado, The World Goes Round is guaranteed to bring delight- familiarity with Kander and Ebb not required! Its delicious combination of emotionally wrought and lighthearted, chipper pieces makes for a perfectly balanced and joyful experience- a perfect re-introduction to the world of live musical theater for those of us who have been involuntarily fasting for the past two years. This is one show you don't want to miss- treat yourself to tickets today.

The World Goes Round runs through November 7th at the Marriott Theater in Lincolnshire, IL. Tickets can be purchased at the Marriott Theater website.

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From This Author Kathleen Anwar