note: entire contents copyright 2011 by Sheila Barth
The stars are out in Watertown - five, specifically - taking audiences on a delightful, musical spin in the award-winning musical revue of Kander and Ebb’s “The World Goes ‘Round,” currently appearing through July 31 with the New Repertory Theatre at Arsenal Center for the Arts.
Cast members shine brightly as they satellite around each other in this two-act, two-hour musical show, as the audience sits back and enjoys each song, superbly accompanied by Music Director Todd C. Gordon on keyboard and three musicians.
Handsome David Costa draws sighs in his sweetly romantic duet with pretty Aimee Doherty in song “Marry Me,” (from “The Rink”). His low-key, sad version of “Mr. Cellophane,” (from “Chicago”) evokes sympathy, while his rendition of “Sara Lee,” an ode to the famous frozen baked foods line, is funny.
With merely her graceful presence and voice, Doherty opens the show with theme song, “And the World Goes Round,” from “New York, New York,” then introduces the cast as they collectively perform “Yes,” followed by a comical rendition of “Coffee in a Cardboard Cup,” both from “70,Girls,70”. Airing their artistic versatility, Doherty and veteran actress Leigh Barrett are hysterically crass in “Chicago’s “Class”.
All 29 numbers are nicely staged, with songs tenderly flowing into the next, changing the mood from upbeat, romantic, dramatic or comedic. Director-Choreographer Ilyse Robbins has conceived some snappy and balletic routines, enabling this talented troupe to each strut his/her stuff in their signature style.
Barrett unleashes her operatically-trained, gorgeous voice throughout the show, especially in her dramatically soulful version of “Maybe This Time,” from “Cabaret”.
And veteran Shannon Lee Jones accents the positive and fun aspects of Kander and Ebb’s repertoire, especially during her and Barrett’s comedic duet, “The Grass is Always Greener,” from musical, “Woman of the Year”. Jones struts her long-legged sultriness in “Chicago” tune, “All That Jazz,” and wink-winks her way through a May-December affair in “Arthur in the Afternoon,” while handsome, muscular De’Lon Grant pushes ups the virility meter, then rues a dying love in “I Don’t Remember You,” from “The Happy Time”. He adds dramatic clout in his solo, “Kiss of the Spider Woman”.
The audience gets into the act,too, when the troupe enlists volunteers to help “Ring Them Bells,” in Act II’s opening number, and later shifts into high gear with this all-Equity cast, clapping in time to “Money,Money”. They collectively surprise with a Manhattan Transfer jazzy version of “Cabaret,” and inspire a singalong in their upbeat finale “New York,New York”.
BOX INFO: Two-act award-winning John Kander and Fred Ebb musical revue, appearing at the New Repertory Theatre, Charles Mosesian Theatre, Arsenal Center for the Arts, 321 Arsenal St., Watertown, through July 31. Performances are Thursday, at 7:30 p.m.; Friday, 8 p.m.; Saturday, 3:30, 8 p.m.; Sunday, 4 p.m. Tickets, $28-$58; seniors, $7 off; student rush, $20. Call 617-923-8487 or visit www.newrep.org.