Quality Hill Playhouse's The World Goes 'Round, originally produced off-Broadway (with And prefacing the title) in 1991 and mounted by the Unicorn Theatre a couple of years later, salutes the team with more than two dozen songs for two kinds of audiences: those who can't get enough of a familiar number like Chicago's "All That Jazz" and those open to songs they've probably never heard, such as the lovely "A Quiet Thing" from Flora, the Red Menace. And with this kind of cast, both flocks must be leaving the theater quite pleased.
Teri Adams opens the show powerfully with "And the World Goes 'Round", a number about getting through life's ebbs and flows: One day it's kicks/Then it's kicks in the shins. She continues to dominate the evening, revealing a welcome maturity and emotional frankness to her voice that make a plaintive torch song like "My Coloring Book" almost unbearably sad. But Adams is also a skillful comic, and in a duet with Karen Errington called "Class" (a number cut from the film Chicago but included on the DVD), she works her pliant face into a shroud of disgust when she asks, Ain't there no decency left?
Errington is a formidable belter as well, proven by her remarkable "Colored Lights," which becomes a mini-musical of its own about the fragility of nostalgia. Her version of "Isn't This Better?" from the film Funny Lady is gorgeously sung and becomes part of an equally toothsome trio when it's overlaid with Adams' "Maybe This Time" and Charles Fugate's "We Can Make It."
Stephanie Nelson and James Andrew Wright overplay a couple of tunes from Chicago, but when they're sharing the stage with their costars in, say, "Coffee in a Cardboard Cup," there's not a better ensemble in town. J. Kent Barnhart's direction of the group numbers seems brilliantly attuned to each actor's strengths. In these moments, there's not any gap at all between the kind of show you'd gladly pay $75 for in New York and this rousing evening of Broadway history.