And The World Goes 'Round | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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And The World Goes 'Round

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AND THE WORLD GOES 'ROUND, Drury Lane Theatre Evergreen Park. Cheeky, soulful, sassy, and sad, the songs of John Kander and Fred Ebb run the gamut from major moods to minor keys, from the cynical pizzazz of Cabaret, New York, New York, and Chicago to the hard-boiled sentimentality of Kiss of the Spiderwoman and Woman of the Year.

Marc Robin's five ensemble members explore the songs' extremes with inexhaustible aplomb, whether high-rolling on skates to "The Rink," strumming banjos in "Me and My Baby," or sloshing down mocha in "Coffee in a Cardboard Cup." They bring out the best in the (comparatively few) familiar selections and turn less famous stuff into rich finds. Novelty numbers warm up the crowd and build energy to sustain the ballads. Among the former are "Mr. Cellophane" (Aaron Thielen is suitably self-effacing) and "The Grass Is Always Greener," a bittersweet number in which a socialite and charwoman yearn to switch lives (Roberta Duchak and Heidi Kettenring convulse the crowd). Among the solo thrills is Rachel Rockwell probing the unassuming heartbreak of "A Quiet Thing" from Flora, the Red Menace. Robin delivers a matchless dance suite for Rockwell and Curt Dale Clark, and the inspired ensemble's jazzy version of "Cabaret" flows as easily as a martini in moonlight.

The quintet earns its pay in the first act alone; the second is above and beyond. --Lawrence Bommer

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