FST Slips Into Summer with a Pleasing Production of 'The World Goes 'Round'

The revue highlights the many and diverse songs of Kander and Ebb.

By Kay Kipling June 10, 2024

Dayna Jarae Dantzler, Dion Simmonds Grier, Zak Edwards, Lani Corson and Crystal Kellogg in "The World Goes 'Round."

Image: John Jones

Maybe it’s partly because I haven’t seen it in a long while, but I found myself enjoying Florida Studio Theatre’s current production of The World Goes ’Round more than I expected to.

It wasn’t that I went into the theater in a negative frame of mind. But FST has presented this musical revue more than once in the past, and while you can never go wrong with the songs of longtime team John Kander and Fred Ebb, revues without, strictly speaking, a storyline tend to leave me a little disengaged.

Not so with this show, which first took to the stage in New York in 1991. Most theatergoers may connect Kander and Ebb chiefly with Cabaret and the oft-revived Chicago, but the creators of World (Scott Ellis, Susan Stroman and David Thompson) took advantage of the songwriters’ other shows—The Rink, Flora the Red Menace, Kiss of the Spider Woman, etc.—and material written for the likes of Liza Minnelli and Barbra Streisand to put together a piece that really demonstrates the range of their work over time.

And there are stories told here, within individual songs or in the groupings of them. Couples fall in and out of love, struggle against life’s hard knocks, and in general remain upbeat through the twists and turns they face. The five-member cast is, naturally, greatly aided by the onstage band (led by music director Josh Walker), and also by the often subtle but appreciated tweaks director-choreographer Ben Liebert has made to earlier stagings.

The cast of FST's "The World Goes 'Round."

Image: John Jones

The ensemble works smoothly together throughout the show, utilizing minimal but effective props, especially on comic numbers like “Coffee in a Cardboard Cup,” which has them quickly getting the caffeine jitters, and “Sara Lee,” an ode to the perfection of the brand’s baked goods. But they can quickly switch moods to more biting excerpts, like “The Money Song” from Cabaret, or the physical prowess required on roller skates for “The Rink.”

And, as should be the case with any revue like this, each cast member also gets the chance to shine solo or in duets. A few highlights: Crystal Kellogg on “Colored Lights,” Dayna Jarae Dantzler on “My Coloring Book,” Dion Simmons Grier on “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” and Zak Edwards on “Mr. Cellophane.” Edwards and Lani Corson also get a great spotlight on instrumental versions of tunes from Chicago and Cabaret that showcase their dance talents while representing various stages of a relationship.

In fact, while the performers are all strong in their own ways, I’ll probably remember some of Corson and Edwards’ work the most here. The former has a perky, energetic presence throughout; the latter often gives off the vibe of that music teacher back in high school that everybody really liked.

The set requirements for World are minimal, but the costumes (by Harry Nadal) and the lighting (by Andrew Gray) both shade the songs and the personalities with the right colors and attitudes. The result is a show that will likely also give you more satisfaction than you might anticipate.

And the World Goes ’Round is set to run through June 30 in the Gompertz Theatre. For tickets, call (941) 366-9000 or go to

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