You wouldn't think putting together a revue of Kander and Ebb songs would be all that hard. Select some classic songs. Find a few obscurities in the trunk. Hire a few singers. You'd be set.
You'd also be wrong, if the Jungle's And the World Goes 'Round is any indication.
See also: John Command in Charge Again for Jungle's Kander and Ebb Revue[jump]
Somehow, a show featuring selections from Chicago, Cabaret, and a bevy of tunes that made Liza Minnelli famous, along with a bunch of highly talented singers, turns into a colossal turkey that will have you begging for mercy long before the final note of "New York, New York."
John Kander and Fred Ebb made terrific songs together, with Kander providing the often jazzy tunes to Ebb's clever and worldly lyrics. When the John Command-directed revue sticks strictly to that, the show has legs.
Someone needs to produce Kiss of the Spider Woman and put Bradley Greenwald in the lead, just to recreate his fiery version of the title tune. Therese Walth does similar work with another signature tune, Cabaret's "Maybe This Time."
It's often a matter of stuffing way too much until the song is ready to burst. The clever "Grass Is Greener," which gives us a dialogue between a rich starlet and an ordinary housewife, reaches what appears to be a nice, strong ending. Then a couple of the men come out, sing a couple more verses, and drag the whole thing out.
When it comes to the song "Cabaret," we get a jazzy, seven-part vocal version that brings the Manhattan Transfer to mind. Until Wednesday evening, I hadn't thought about the Manhattan Transfer for a couple of blissful decades. Thanks for nothing, Kander and Ebb revue.
IF YOU GO:
And the World Goes 'Round Through May 24 The Jungle Theater 2951 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis $28-$48. For tickets and more information call 612-822-7063 or visit online.