John Command has been in the theater business for more than half a century, which gives him a unique perspective on And the World Goes 'Round, the Kander and Ebb revue he is directing for the Jungle Theater
John Kander and Fred Ebb created some of the great musicals of the last half-century, including Cabaret, Chicago, and Kiss of the Spider Woman. They were also instrumental in Liza Minnelli's career. The revue takes highlights from those shows, along with tunes from their extensive trunk.
Command first saw the show in 1992 on its original run, when it went to on to win several Drama Desk awards. The production not only features all of these familiar favorites, but it offers them in different ways, including mixing them together to create almost-new works.
"There is a real nice mix of styles, and every song has its own feel to it," Command says, noting that the pair would embrace everything, including blues, jazz, and ragtime.
It's Command's third time around at the Jungle, having helmed successful productions of Urinetown and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.
The show includes plenty of famous tunes, such as "All That Jazz" and "Mr. Cellophane" from Chicago, and the title song from Cabaret.
While this spring and summer are particularly busy for musical theater in the Twin Cities, Command has brought together an impressive cast, including Bradley Greenwald, Betti Battocletti, William Gilness, Tiffany Seymour, Emily Rose Skinner, Therese Walth, and Jon Whittier.
As Kander and Ebb have written so many showstoppers, the revue gives everyone in the company their moments in the spotlight to belt out something classic.
Jungle founder Bain Boehlke designed the set. The longtime leader of the theater will step aside from his post as artistic director in June, making this his final contribution to the theater while in charge.
Command's career stretches back more than 50 years, and during that time he has learned that a show will eventually come together. "I've felt that way as long as I've been in the business. I feel like I'm ahead of the game on this one," he says.
IF YOU GO:
And the World Goes 'Round Friday 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.