Stellar performances in
And The World Goes Round
Musical revue featured the best of songwriting team Kander and Ebb
By Byron Toben
February 23, 2023
Composer John Kander and lyricist Fred Ebb comprised one of the great songwriting teams of all time, on a par with Rodgers and Hammerstein, Webber and Rice, and Comden and Green. Kander and Ebb created twenty stage musicals and four films from 1965 to 2015.
Many highlights of their works are featured in the 1991 musical revue, And The World Goes Round, which, remounted by Opera McGill, ran at the Segal Centre on February 16, 17 and 19. This bouncy show featured ten performers (six female, four male) and three musicians. It moved right along with energetic choreography by director Jonathan Patterson and musical direction by Chris Barillaro. All in all, a meaty thirty songs (most musicals are 18 or 20), although three were listed as And the World Goes Round Crossovers (sort of a refrain).
Here are the performers, listed by solos, duets or trios:
Petur Ulfarsson – The Happy Time, Mister Cellophane and Kiss of the Spider Woman
Elissa Dresdner – Colored Lights
Charlotte Desilets – And the World Goes Round and Maybe This Time
Ruth Acheam Pong – My Coloring Book
Jonathan Stitt – We Can Make It
Claire Thornton – Isn’t This Better?
Jonathan Stitt and Nicholas Murphy – I Don’t You Remember You / Sometimes A Day Goes By
Julia Kennific and Jayden Burrows – Arthur in the Afternoon
Julia Kennific, Elissa Dresdner and Ruth Acheam Pong – Class
Elissa Dresdner and Claire Thornton – The Grass Is Always Greener
Chloe Monette, Jayden Burrows and Ruth Acheam Pong – One Love / Marry Me / A Quiet Thing
Charlotte Desilets, Claire Thornton and Jonathan Stitt – Trio
All ten above were also mixed and matched in five quintets, a sextet, and full company.
The selected songs in these shows in the Kander and Ebb Canon were from Cabaret, Chicago, Flora, The Red Menace, Funny Lady, Kiss of the Spider Woman, New York, New York, The Act, The Happy Time, The Rink, Woman of the Year, Zorba, and 70-Girls-70. Accompanists were Levi Dover on bass, Parker Bert on drums and Chris Barillaro on piano.
In a sense, the many chairs creatively sat on, handled and carried on and off were an 11th performer. I remember seeing Ionescu’s absurd one-act play Les Chaises in Paris years ago, which featured multiple chairs but they were basically stationary, and the invisible guests lacked bodies to move them.
Also impressive, in the song Money, Money, the performers flashed scads of (fake) greenbacks, which they threw all over the floor but amazingly retrieved to the last dollar bill as the bit segued into the next song. Also, a central prop was a globe of our planet Earth which performers spun, always to have their fingers land on, you guessed it, New York, New York, as the entre to the tune which later became Frank Sinatra’s theme song.
Feature image: courtesy of Opera McGill / Segal Centre
Byron Toben, a past president of The Montreal Press Club, has been WestmountMag.ca’s theatre reviewer since July 2015. Previously, he wrote for since terminated web sites Rover Arts and Charlebois Post, print weekly The Downtowner and print monthly The Senior Times. He also is an expert consultant on U.S. work permits for Canadians.