Regional Reviews: Phoenix
Originally conceived for an off-Broadway run in 1991 by Scott Ellis, Susan Stroman, and David Thompson, the revue features songs from such hit shows as Cabaret, Chicago, Kiss of The Spider Woman, and Woman of the Year. But there are also a number of well-written numbers from such flop shows the duo wrote, including The Happy Time, 70, Girls, 70, The Act, The Rink, and Flora, The Red Menace, along with songs from the films Funny Lady and New York, New York.
The show uses the tune "And the World Goes 'Round" from New York, New York as a thread throughout to showcase the range of themes in the songs of romance, drama and humor, and also to show how these are constant and always present in our ever-spinning world. This works well to highlight the well-written Kander and Ebb tunes which feature a mix of musical styles and songs that include deeply felt lyrics, comical lyrical rhymes, romantic melodies, and harmonious tempos. The end result is a celebration of the joys of life and the rich depth and musical passion of a very talented songwriting team.
The cast for this production features singers who have appeared in dozens of productions across the Valley. All are gifted vocalists and performers and several also get to showcase their keen dancing abilities. Michael Wallot's direction includes plenty of appropriate touches throughout to ensure the dramatic moments ring true and the humorous ones are funny. Joshua Condon's music direction achieves beautiful sounds from the singers and the exceptional on stage band.
There isn't a bad song in the evening. Some highlights include Savannah Alfred's delivery of the title tune that gets the show off in a sultry, bluesy and soaring way with a driving and forceful delivery. Kathleen Berger has a few chances to demonstrate her clear, soaring and heartfelt vocals, including "Coloured Lights" from The Rink and "How Lucky Can You Get?" from Funny Lady, along with the upbeat, comical tune from Liza with a Z, "Ring Them Bells." Victoria Fairclough shows off her superb vocal and dance skills in "All That Jazz" from Chicago and "Arthur in the Afternoon" from The Act, both of which also feature Patrick Russo's exuberant dance contribution. Russo also infuses every song he sings with charm and vibrancy, including "Mr. Cellophane" from Chicago. Michael Paul delivers the comically delightful "Sara Lee" with an upbeat and infectious charm and sends the title song from Kiss of the Spider Woman soaring with some delicious high notes.
There are also several songs in the show that start out as solos but end up with overlapping harmonies that sound simply gorgeous. These include Russo and Paul singing "I Don't Remember You" from The Happy Time and "Sometimes a Day Goes By" from Woman of the Year, and the trio of Paul, Fairclough and Berger singing, respectively, "We Can Make It" from The Rink, "Maybe this Time" from Cabaret, and "Isn't this Better" from Funny Lady. Also, there are two fun duets in the show that highlight the comic abilities of Alfred and Berger: "Class" from Chicago and "The Grass is Always Greener" from Woman of the Year.
With an exceptional cast, Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts' production of The World Goes 'Round is a beautiful testament to the exceptional songwriting talents of Kander and Ebb.
The World Goes 'Round runs through October 27, 2018, at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts. Information can be found at www.scottsdaleperformingarts.org.
Director: Michael Wallot