Heartbreak, dark humor, desperation, raucous fun, and biting commentary are just a few of the words one could use to describe the music of John Kander and Fred Ebb. The World Goes ‘Round, presented by Creative Cauldron at Artspace Falls Church, is a collection of the duo’s collaborative works that span over 26 years. The show is comprised of favorites, such as “All that Jazz,” and “New York, New York,” and less known but equally brilliant numbers, like “A Quiet Thing.”
The show, directed by Matt Conner, has no plot but still maintains a continuous flow from beginning to end. Some numbers feed into one another but every transition is smooth and flawless. Conner, an associate artist with Creative Cauldron for thirteen years, is no stranger to their stage and utilizes every corner of the space. Along with Scenic and Costume Designer Margie Jervis, and Lighting Designer Joseph Lovins, Conner transforms the small room into an intimate and inviting cabaret.
Choreographer Kara-Tameika Watkins, takes any opportunity to accent the beats with movement, including some nods to Fosse, which heightens the energy of the numbers while never diminishing the strong vocals required by the music. Watkins’ work particularly impresses during the production number “Money,” a crowd favorite.
Thanks to the Musical Direction of Steve Przybylski, this production does not disappoint with its exquisite harmonies and overlaying vocals. The blends were balanced and beautiful and the timing spot-on. Przybylski also leads the three-man band, which accompanies the vocalists, as the pianist, with Jim Hofmann on Percussion and Mila Weiss on Reeds. The live music helps to enhance the old-time cabaret feel of the show that this production strives towards.
The five performers featured in the revue are a diverse group that shines, each in their own turn. Katie McManus starts the show off with a powerful rendition of “The World Goes ‘Round” from the motion picture New York, New York but then shows her humorous side in the sassy duet, “Class,” from Chicago. Also singing in the duet with McManus is Carolyn Burke, whose voice is perfectly suited for the style required in this show and acts with an honesty that endears her to the audience, most notably in Funny Lady’s “Isn’t This Better.” Rounding out the ladies is Carli Smith, whose versatility makes it impossible to pigeon-hole her as the blonde bombshell she appears.
Joining the ladies on the stage and completing the five-some are Harv Lester and Jordon DeBona. Lester manages to be utterly adorable in “Sara Lee” from The Act, while also delivering an achingly, touching “Marry Me” from The Rink.
DeBona, last but by no means least, holds the swoon-worthy title for this production. He has a beautifully clear and cool voice that softly captivates in The Happy Time’s’ “I Don’t Remember You,” but proves its strength in “Kiss of the Spider Woman.”
Each of the songs in the revue can stand alone but The World Goes ‘Round joins them all together and, with the incredible effort of this cast and creative team, takes the audience on a journey through the entire emotional spectrum. And the audience is not required to know the shows in order to enjoy and connect with the music. One of the wonderful things about the music of Kander and Ebb is its relatability.
Creative Cauldron’s production of The World Goes ‘Round is the perfect experience for anyone wanting to reminisce about Kander and Ebb’s beloved shows and songs, expose themselves to other works by the duo, or to simply lose themselves for a time. It’s sheer magic!
Running Time: Approximately two hours, with one intermission.
Here are directions.
Meet the Cast of ‘The World Goes ‘Round’ at Creative Cauldron: Part 1: Carolyn Burke.
Meet the Cast of ‘The World Goes ‘Round’ at Creative Cauldron: Part 2: Carli Smith.