“The World Goes ’Round” is an award-winning musical revue showcasing the songs of John Kander and Fred Ebb. Prairie Fire Theatre’s current staging in Westbrook Auditorium features five talented college-age singers eager for their turn in the spotlight.
The show is sung straight through and offers an eclectic mix of love songs, ballads, jazzy-blues hybrids and clever comedic numbers. Some of the songs are unfamiliar and come from the team’s lesser-known musicals such as “Kiss of the Spider Woman” while others offer new arrangements of well known standbys from “Cabaret” and “Chicago.”
One of the tricks with a revue is to get it to hang together as one show and Stage Director Ross Egan manages that beautifully, telling the story through interesting blocking and individual characterizations. He gives each of his singers a loose story arc as the show moves along.
Kander’s winsome melodies and Ebb’s witty lyrics are in good hands, thanks to Music Director Andrew Voelker who is front and center on a grand piano. Voelker also occasionally lends his fine tenor voice.
The cast, which includes Brigid Broderick, Jessica McGrew, Maddie Steele, Kevin J. Alleman and R. Carson Grey, each get a turn to shine.
McGrew kicks it off with the title song, which Kander and Ebb wrote for Liza Minnelli to sing in the film “New York New York.” That’s followed by a funny all cast “Coffee in a Cardboard Cup” that has clever choreography by Robert Wilson.
Maddie Steele shows off both her singing and dancing chops in “Arthur in the Afternoon.”
Broderick delivers “My Coloring Book,” a heartbreaker made popular by Barbra Streisand. She and McGrew share the comedic duet “The Grass Is Always Greener” and it’s a real highlight of the show.
Another highlight is Alleman’s “Cellophane Man” from “Chicago.” It’s both funny and sad. Grey is earnest and true in “We Can Make It.”
The lyrics in “Money, Money” from “Cabaret” say money makes the world go ’round. However, by the end of this song-filled night, it’s clear that in Kander and Ebb’s world it’s love that makes the world go ’round.