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Theatre Review (LA): The World Goes Round, a Kander and Ebb Revue at the Actors Co-op

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The World Goes Round, a revue featuring songs by Kander and Ebb, has showstoppers from Cabaret, Chicago, Kiss of The Spider Woman, Funny Lady, New York, New York, and more. In New York the show won the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Musical, as well as the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Musical Revue and the Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Off-Broadway Musical Revue.

The secret to presenting a successful revue is getting a great cast of singers together. Director Robert Marra, knowing that revues can be static despite the singers or the songs, had devised a new concept for the revue that works like gangbusters.

Marra gathered a terrific cast in Gina D’Acciaro, Michael D’Elia, Kristen Heitman, Robert W. Laur, Jeremy Lowder, Carrie Masden, and (a sub but nonetheless good) Jane Noseworthy. After studying the songs and with some rearrangement he found that he could create seven distinct character arcs. All he needed was a locale where you might find each of these characters. Instead of a bar (a la Cheers), he chose the ubiquitous coffee shop.

With his cast he discovered how these characters could interact. The interaction is not always direct but often takes the form of fantasy. For instance, when a shy, nerdy clerk feels some passion towards a rich celebrity in the restaurant, he sings “Kiss of the Spider Woman” to her unknowing presence. Juxtapositions like this are plentiful and for the most part work. By the end you feel, as an audience member, that you know these characters and have witnessed their interweaving stories.

Gina D’Acciaro plays a homeless woman who haunts the neighboring streets and seems to be the counterpoint to all the other stories that involve love lost and/or found. She is finally invited inside when it starts to rain so the whole cast seems united against the raging rains on the outside. Meanwhile by joining together they seem to find a kind of peace through companionship.

The World Goes Round is playing at the Crossley Theatre in Hollywood until October 14.

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About Robert Machray