Kander and Ebb's "The World Goes 'Round" continues through Aug. 3. Photo: Great Escape Stage Company

Singers Set Stage Spinning With Night Of Cabaret

By Bridgette M. Redman

What make the world go around? Is it money? Is it love? Is it the planet's inertia and gravitational pulls? What makes us go from season to season, ever changing and ever predictable?

Kander and Ebb covered many topics in their careers, often exploring what makes people do the things they do - how they fall in love, how they leave each other, how they envy each other and how they laugh.

The musical revue "The World Goes 'Round" tries to capture a little of everything from the duo's musical career from their big numbers to lesser-known early songs.

The Great Escape Stage Company launches this musical revue with nine singers decked in black and set apart with coats of many colors. Costumers Karen Carr York and Libby Carroll make the most with this simple theme by coordinating colors of props, hats and even balloons.

It's an intimate space in Downtown Marshall, and with the pit upstairs and behind the stage, the voices are always out front and bouncing around in this acoustically friendly environment. The ensemble members all have strong voices and never make the audiences strain to hear them.

Ensemble members include Vanessa Banister, Deb Culver, Alan Elliot, Cam Lake, Randy Lake, Brittany Lighthall, Tim Nolan, Hope Tolliver and Kerry Wilson.

The revue covers a myriad of moods and emotions, with the ensemble at its most entertaining during comedic numbers such as "Coffee in a Cardboard Cup" from "70, Girls, 70" and "Money, Money" from "Cabaret." It is then they let out the pure goofiness of the numbers and Terralynn Lake's choreography take over.

This is director Timothy Lake's first outing as a director. It's clear he is comfortable with the space and how to make good use of the tight quarters, so it is well-used without looking cramped. He was also skilled at getting actors into places so there could be easy changes from one song to the next. There was only one time where the transition felt awkward, though it could have been a scene change went wrong. There was a longer-than-usual pause between "Quiet Thing" and "The Grass is Always Greener." It perhaps stuck out because the others were so clean.

The set was still set up in the same way it had been for the company's previous production, "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels." However, it had a fresh coat of black paint with neon words splashed onto the walls and stair steps along with fringe and string lighting that gave it a very cabaret-like feel.

Culver sang the opening number, "And the World Goes 'Round," in a sultry fashion that slowly lit up the stage as she traveled across it.

Other highlights were Banister (last seen as Christine Colgate in "Scoundrels") leading the ensemble in a tight production of "All That Jazz," done traditionally with Fosse jazz hands and moody lighting.

While every performer had a solo moment where he or she got to show off vocal strengths, it was truly the ensemble numbers that gave this revue its greatest energy. They worked together well, and were generous in giving each other the spotlight.

"The World Goes 'Round" is an entertaining evening with songs from "Chicago," "New York, New York," "Cabaret," "Kiss of the Spiderwoman" and "Funny Lady." Even the lesser-known songs are so well performed as to be inviting and compelling.

Given how intimate the space is, the audience involvement with applause, laughter and sighs factor heavily into the experience. The Friday night crowd was small but highly responsive, something the actors seemed to feed into and give back to.

Whatever it is that makes the world go round, it was the singing and dancing on Friday night that made the audience go out with smiles on their faces.


'The World Goes 'Round'

Great Escape Stage Company

155 W. Michigan Ave., Marshall

8 p.m. July 26, 31, Aug. 1, 2

3 p.m. July 27, Aug. 3

1 hour, 55 minutes




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