Most musical theater fans know Kander and Ebb from their two biggest shows: Cabaret, which takes place in Berlin before World War II, and Chicago, about celebrities, jazz and murder in the 1920s. They’re both here, in metered doses: Erin Burniston makes the best pop-up experience in And All That Jazz, and Taylor Hilt Mitchell chuckles approvingly when she says Mr. Mister. Cellophane.”
It’s even more fun when a song has a chance to surprise. World Goes’ Round is a five-piece ensemble featuring tunes from commercials such as Flora Red Menace (Liza Minnelli’s star car) and 70 Girls 70.
I especially loved Christine De Fres’ performance of Colored Lights, a song from The Rink about love that escapes. De Frece is surprisingly upset about Ring Them Bells, the fabulous, funny storyline song that Minnelli made famous in Liza with a Z. The rest of the actors support her literally in the bells.
De Fres and Tyler Simone (an underrated pleasure from the show’s title solo) are responsible for the show’s highest scores, both of them being comic duos. The first, Class, is a treat from Chicago, a chance for women to get silly and relaxed. In the second, “The Grass Is Always Greener,” the star (De Fres) and the housewife (Simone) exchange envious phrases. Ebb’s lyrics are in great shape here:
“Ah, the grass is always greener / On someone else’s lawn in front of the house,” the women sing. “Ah, someone else’s sausage / Always like it better.”