Updated: Nov 16
“…A Blue-Chip Evening with Heart Pumping Entertainment!"
Inland Valley Repertory Theatre presents the 1991 Off-Broadway musical revue, “The World Goes 'Round, The Songs of Kander & Ebb,” performed one day only - November 10th at 3:15 and 7:15PM at the Candlelight Pavillion. Conceived by Scott Ellis, Susan Stroman and David Thompson, "The World Goes 'Round" highlights the collaborative works of composer John Kander and lyricist Fred Ebb. For anyone who may have somehow missed the impressive body of work of these two men, they are the creators of musicals such as “Cabaret,” “Chicago,” “Woman of the Year,” “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” “The Rink,” “Zorba,” “70,” “Girls,” “The Happy Time,” and the films “New York, New York” and “Funny Lady.”
Kander and Ebb were so enmeshed as collaborators that Kander, the composer half of the duo, used to refer to the partnership by a portmanteau: Kandernebb. Over the course of 42 years as an exclusive team, Kandernebb wrote more than 2,000 songs and fifteen musicals, eleven of which—including “Cabaret,” “Chicago,” and “Kiss of the Spider Woman”—made it to Broadway.
This return-to-the-stage show, back from the 19-month pestiferous scourge that has devastated some theaters over the course of it, has been widely anticipated and not only celebrates the songwriting career of John Kander and the late Fred Ebb, but also is a victory celebration for IVRT. Co-managed by Frank and Donna Marie Minano, now in their 13th year, Inland Valley Repertory Theatre’s five-person cast and six-piece combo make for a blue-chip evening with heart pumping entertainment, complemented by good company and stylish surroundings.
Directed by Frank Minano (who succeeds in elevating this production from a musical revue to a delightful collection of musical stories) and choreographed by Allison Eversoll ("Saturday Night Football Promo with Adam Levine;" "Golden Globes"), IVRT’s “The World Goes 'Round” has no actual book or storyline and all of the dialogue occurs in song. The tunes glide smoothly into each other, but are not at all codependent, which enables the audience to appreciate each number individually and without regard. But the actors still exude strong, individualized stage presence. Liberated from scripted characters, each actor portrays amplified versions of themselves during the course of the show under the aegis of an existential thread that holds the show together.
This delicious mélange is at its most titillating and giddy during a delightfully jaundiced duet called “The Grass is Always Greener” between Jackie Cox ("Victor Victoria;" "Hairspray"), assuming the role of a glam celebrity, and Jamie Kaufman ("I Do, I Do;" "Hairspray"), posing as a housewife clad in a bathrobe. Another extremely fun number exposes the well-toned glutes of Chanlon Kaufman and the golden refrains of Jamie Kaufman in “Arthur in the Afternoon.”
Mr. Kaufman ("Light in the Piaza;" "Cinderella") also lends his gorgeous baritone to a range of other songs, from the electrifying "Kiss of the Spider Woman" to the innocent nostalgia of "The Happy Time" to the yearning of "We Can Make It."
Jamie Kaufman heats up "Maybe This Time," then Sandra Rice ("Damn Yankees;" "Company") brings the sweetest of sorrows to "My Coloring Book" (the one number not written for the score of a musical or movie). Ms. Cox and Ms. Kaufman both deliver a hilariously indignant "Class." Bobby Collins ("Tulsa;" "Singing in the Rain") melts hearts with "Mister Cellophane" in a tragi-comic turn, and Mr. Kaufman and Ms. Cox tingle again in "Marry Me."
Sandra Rice’s smoky voice, combined with her ability to live in the darker areas of the human soul, was riveting. Bobby Collins’ self-deprecating charm and deadpan humor work very well with this material. Jackie Cox does a tangible job with frenetic sexiness, although she seems even more comfortable in the very funny character pieces she pulls off.
And in the group numbers, such as the frenzied “Coffee in a Cardboard Box,” the phenomenal “Money, Money,” the jazzy “Cabaret,” "All That Jazz," "Ring Them Bells," and "How Lucky Can You Get," the cast personifies strength in numbers and sings and moves with wonderful precision. Thanks to the outstanding work of IVRT’s resident sound designer, Nick Galvin, every word sung is clearly heard and understood, adding greatly to the impact of each song. Likewise, the terrific six-piece orchestra, led by Music Director Ronda Rubio, is in perfect blend, with each instrument distinctly heard, forming a cohesive musical canvas for the vocalists.
Musicians were Ronda Rubio (Music Director/Keyboard/Conductor); David Catalan (Reed); Takako Nakano (Trombone); Jon Bradley (Trumpet); Carlos Rivera (Bass); and Brad Vaughn (Drums/Percussion).
The creative team of “The World Goes 'Round” consists of Frank Minano as Director/Artistic Director; Hope Kaufman as Assistant Director/Casting; Bobby Collins as Artistic Director/Production; Allison Eversoll as Choreographer; Gavan Wyrick and Caleb Shiba as Lighting Designers; Nick Galvin as Sound Designer; and Donna Marie Minano as Executive Director.
For upcoming shows, tickets and further information on IVRT’s current season, please visit: www.ivrt.org
Arts & Entertainment Reviewer
The Show Report
Photo Credits: DawnEllen Ferry