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The Wold Goes 'Round
Florida Studio Theatre Theatre

Also see Bill's review of Pulse


The Cast
Florida Studio Theatre is opening their summer season with The World Goes 'Round, which is a sure-fire hit wherever it is produced because it incorporates almost 30 superlative tunes from the pens of John Kander and Fred Ebb and as conceived by Scott Ellis, Susan Stroman and David Thompson. The lavish production numbers compensate for the inability to bring together stars of the magnitude that these songs were imagined for (think Liza, Chita and Barbra for starters). Florida has assembled a strong voiced cast, excellent direction from Gabriel Barre, and lively choreography from DJ Gray. It all makes for a crowd pleasing "Razzle Dazzle" show, even though that number is strangely missing.

Leading off the evening with the title tune is Taprena Michelle Augustine with a fine torchy voice. She also gets "My Coloring Book" and "Maybe This Time" to show off with. Carey Anderson strongly delivers "Colored Lights," "Ring Them Bells" and "Isn't This Better." Lauren Blackman gets some of her best moments as a dancer tearing up "All That Jazz" and in a tap specialty with Zak Edwards. She also solos on my favorite Kander and Ebb song, "A Quiet Thing," which I first heard delivered by a 19-year-old Liza Minnelli during the pre-Broadway engagement of Flora The Red Menace. Zak Edwards shows off his strong dancing skills as mentioned above, and in the ode to "Sara Lee." He is also a strong singer as demonstrated in "Mr Cellophane." Peter Gosik's best number is "Kiss of the Spider Woman" and he is also strong on "I Don't Remember You."

Two of the Kander and Ebb songs are so well known that when putting this review together in 1991 (is it really over 20 years old?) the artistic team realized they had to do something different, so the show closes with "Cabaret" in a jazzy close harmony vocal, a la Manhattan Transfer, and the encore of "New York, New York" with the opening stanza sung in several different languages. I wish someone would update the show a bit to include numbers from later Kander & Ebb vehicles such as Steel Pier, Curtains and especially the song "Go Back Home" from what I believe to be one of the author's masterpieces, The Scottsboro Boys.

The musical end of things is kept lively by a four-piece band led with pizzazz by Frank Lindquist. Beautiful costumes by April Soroko serve the various production numbers well. The basic set, also by Ms. Soroko, five pastel colored chairs with slogans that pertain to the authors on the proscenium and floor, are functional, while props for several numbers are delightful, especially for "Sara Lee."

Although a bit sparsely attended the night I saw the show, I am sure that word will get around that FST has a winner on its hands.

Florida Studio Theatre presents The World Goes 'Round through June 23 at The Gompertz Theater, 1241 N. Palm Avenue, Sarasota. For tickets and performance information, please call the box office at (941) 366-9000 or visit www.floridastudiotheatre.org

Cast (in alphabetical order)
Carey Anderson*
Taprena Michelle Augustine*
Lauren Blackman*
Zak Edwards*
Peter Gosik*
*member of Actors Equity.

The Band: Frank Lindquist, Tom Ellison,l Tony Bruno and Jim Prosser

Directed by Gabriel Barre
Choreographed by DJ Gray
Scenic Design by April Soroko
Sound Design by Marshall Simmons
Lighting Design by Rob Perry
Costume Design by April Soroko
Production Stage Manager--Kelli Karen


Photo: Brian Braun

--William S. Oser



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