Bob Merrill Songs Kiss Love Makes the World Go 'Round, Getting AZ World Premiere; Larry Raben Directs, Cast Announced

News   Bob Merrill Songs Kiss Love Makes the World Go 'Round, Getting AZ World Premiere; Larry Raben Directs, Cast Announced
Love Makes the World Go 'Round, a new musical created from the song catalog of Broadway composer-lyricist Bob Merrill, of Funny Girl, Carnival!, Take Me Along and Sugar fame, will get its world premiere Jan. 23-Feb. 17 at Phoenix Theatre in Arizona.

Bob Merrill
Bob Merrill Photo by Songwriters Hall of Fame Archives

The work, with a script by Duane Poole, puts Merrill's classic pop numbers and show music — from "How Much is that Doggie in the Window" and "Mambo Italiano" to "People" and the title song — in the mouths of a trio of female characters who have gathered at a piano bar in Manhattan's West Forties. There, they "meet and compare lives and loves — one on the verge of marriage, another considering a divorce, and one who's older, single, and needs to reconnect with love's possibilities," according to production notes.

Brad Ellis, musical arranger and piano accompanist for television's hit show "Glee," will play the role of Henry, at the piano. Ellis, the show's musical supervisor, wrote new arrangements for Love Makes the World Go 'Round.

The cast will include Jeannie Shubitz in the role of Anna, Allison Houston as Natalie and Patti Davis as Irene. Larry Raben (Forever Plaid) directs.

Music supervisor-arranger Brad Ellis

The score includes songs Merrill wrote alone and with other composers (Jule Styne wrote music to Merrill's lyrics for Funny Girl and Sugar). Expect to hear "If I Knew You Were Comin' I'd've Baked a Cake," "Honeycomb," "Tina Marie," "Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania," "People," "Don't Rain on My Parade" and songs from the musicals Carnival!, New Girl in Town and Take Me Along (among others) and TV and film.

Read the 2011 Playbill feature about the first announcement of Love Makes the World Go 'Round, which took developmental steps at the Human Race Theatre Company in Dayton, OH, and in Ithaca, NY. Producer Jayson Raitt has been developing the show for a regional theatre life, and is making it available for licensing.

Tickets for Love Makes the World Go 'Round (the title is borrowed from a song in the musical Carnival!) start at $25 and can be purchased at Phoenix Theatre's Box Office by calling (602) 254-2151 or at

Phoenix Theatre is at 100 E. McDowell Road, just east of the Phoenix Art Museum at Central and McDowell.


Phoenix Theatre is a non-profit corporation that offers a full range of theatrical programming currently in its 92nd consecutive, producing year. Programming includes: Mainstage Season series of recent, classic and world premiere musicals and plays; the 31-year-old Cookie Company, producing professional theatre for young audiences and families; the annual New Works Festival; and extra-curricular educational programs for all ages across the Valley.

Phoenix Theatre is a member the national organization of professional theatres, employs members of the Actors' Equity Association, and is supported in part by the Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture, the Arizona Commission on the Arts, and hundreds of individual, corporate and foundation donors.

Brad Ellis and Jeannie Shubitz
Brad Ellis and Jeannie Shubitz
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