Lucky Penny Productions continues their 2022/23 season with The World Goes Round. The musical revue featuring the works of Kander and Ebb runs at the Lucky Penny Community Arts Center in Napa through March 26.
If Kander and Ebb are unfamiliar, their musical library shouldn’t be. They are the composers of such musicals as Cabaret and Chicago. Their music can also be heard in the films Funny Lady and New York, New York.
When the revue was originally conceived by Scott Ellis, Susan Stroman and David Thompson, the songs were chosen, restructured and then ordered to give a full theatrical experience to each song. The original production even included a giant globe on stage, which the actors spun every night to decide in what language to sing “New York, New York.” Lucky Penny lacks the expansive space of the original show and must rely on their performers to make the score captivating.
Presumably set in New York, the show follows six actors—young barista Nicole Stanley, pastry delivery man Jeremy Kreamer, Tim Setzer, Barbara McFadden, Beth Ellen Ethridge and the vivacious Jenny Veilleux—through a day in the life of a neighborhood coffee shop (an excellently designed and executed set by Barry Martin and director Michael Ross). If there’s more of a plot, it never becomes clear.
The delivery of upbeat and entertaining songs is where this cast shines. The first act is filled with just such songs. High points include Jenny Veilleux’s lively rendition of “All that Jazz” and a deliciously coy delivery of “Arthur in the Afternoon” by Barbara McFadden.
But when the second act hits and there are four torch songs in a row, the show loses steam. There is little connection between the actors and the characters for whom the songs were written. Without clear character choices, the songs just become pretty, and pretty is rarely interesting. Thankfully, the live band, under the excellent musical direction of Ellen Patterson, brings the show depth. Fans of golden age Broadway will also be delighted by Alexander Gomez’s classic choreography.
For those who are fans of musical theater, then this trip down memory lane is a well-spent 90 minutes. For those new to musical theater, this is a good way to get their feet wet without being bogged down in the less-than-pretty intricate plots, moral quandaries and social commentary contained in the complex plays from which these songs originated.
‘The World Goes Round’ runs through March 26 at the Lucky Penny Community Arts Center, 1758 Industrial Way, Napa. Thur–Sat, 7pm; Sun, 2pm. $33–$43. 707.266.6305. luckypennynapa.com.