Come on babe, why don’t we paint the town, and all that jazz?

A revue may be the perfect way to see musical theater.

You get all the flashy singing and dancing, the lights and the costumes, and the live performance – outrageously talented people right before you.

And you don’t have to bend your mind around a musical’s plot, which in many cases makes little sense and exists only to glue together the musical numbers, and seems to take place in a world of mistaken identities, mysterious villains, and sudden ill-explained bursts of song and dance.

At home you can fast-forward a DVD to skip tortured dialogue; at the theater you can’t do anything but sit still and wait for the conductor to pick up his baton.

But a musical revue … that’s a different story. It’s a collection of songs  from multiple shows, and generally the best songs. A live greatest hits collection, , and not just the sounds but the visuals to boot.

The song writing team of John Kander and Fred Ebb created the music for some amazing shows: Cabaret, Chicago, Funny Lady, and New York, New York to name a few. The show that compiles their very best work is The World Goes Round. It’s sassy, sexy, and sometimes bitter, but with a sweet undercurrent and a lasting sense of optimism.

Here’s a little promo for the Pittsburgh Public Theater‘s production of The World Goes Round.

My favorite numbers in the show were three I had never heard or seen before: “Sara Lee” (about the dessert brand), “Coffee in a Cardboard Cup,” and “Arthur in the Afternoon” (about a certain man on the side). The big hits are here too (with the notable exception of “Razzle Dazzle”); “Mr. Cellophane” from Chicago was sweet and sad as you might hope.

The performers are Broadway professionals, and it shows. Amazing voices, excellent dancing, including some nice tap-dancing.

And where the Public’s previous show had actual swimming on stage (on in it, if you will), this one has roller skating. It’s the most athletic theater in town.

The show continues only through April 5 — this weekend. Find ticket and showtime info, and buy online on the Pittsburgh Cultural District website.

Disclaimer: The Public graciously provided me a complimentary ticket for this show.

2 replies on “Come on babe, why don’t we paint the town, and all that jazz?”

  1. A musical without a plot ? Isn’t that what ‘Jacques Brel is Alive and Well …’ was ?

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