Go see “The World Goes Round” – a fantastic show!

I just got back from opening night of a wonderful musical revue, “The World Goes ‘Round”. I recommend it for two groups of people: those that love musicals, and everyone else! Even if you wouldn’t normally think of going to a musical, give it a try. The singing, dancing, and overall presentation of these songs are outstanding. It’s a wonderfully entertaining evening. “The World Goes ‘Round” is an evening of songs written by John Kander and Fred Ebb, one of the most influential teams to leave their mark on Broadway in the latter part of the 20th century. They’ve written a bunch of songs you know – and several are included here – but this show focuses mostly on their lesser-known creations, and that was fine by me. It meant there were lots of surprisingly funny and touching moments that I didn’t see coming. But even familiar lyrics are often given a fresh twist through clever staging and the subtle interactions of the actors. The mood is constantly shifting, high comedy one minute and heartbreak the next. The Pacific Theatre space has audience seating on both sides of the performance area, so the staging is a battle on two fronts. But the choreography deals with this well, partly by taking the show’s title literally and keeping the actors moving ’round. I rarely felt I was missing out on anything. A comic highlight was “Isn’t This Better?”, in which a famous Broadway actress and a fan meet on the street and compare their lives – each one envious of the other. It was spiked with some choice local references that had the audience in stitches. Director Shane Snow doubles on clarinet in a band that sounds bigger than its three members. And Musical Director Gordon Roberts even steps up for a number of his own, walking a perfect line between comedy and pathos on “Mister Cellophane”. (This is a song that’s near and dear to my heart, thanks to my own rendition in The Broadway Chorus. However, Gordon, much to his credit, did not attempt any high kicks.) And when, at show’s end, they tackle the familiar classics “Cabaret” and “New York, New York”, there are some great musical surprises in store that make them utterly new again. “Cabaret” takes a dizzying turn into jazzy five-part vocalese, and as for “New York”, well, let’s just say they give it an international spin before fully delivering on the traditional razzmatazz. “The World Goes ‘Round” is at Pacific Theatre through August 30. It’s not to be missed! Tickets can be purchased online at Tickets Tonight. Showtimes are 8pm, with a 2pm matinee on both Saturdays.

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