Jarrad West is one busy man.
He is directing the Canberra Rep's latest production, The World Goes 'Round: the Songs of Kander and Ebb, and, for the first week at least, will be performing in it as well, after cast member Samantha Marceddo was struck down with appendicitis on the weekend.
West and choreographer Caitlin Schlig will step in for the first week of the season, to replace Marceddo.
"It takes two people to do it," West said, with a laugh.
Marceddo will hopefully be able to join fellow performers Louiza Blomfield, Julia Walker, Isaac Gordon and Joel Hutchings for the second week.
The show opens on Friday, the perfect frothy antidote to the seriousness of this Saturday's federal election; a collection of love songs, torch songs, showstoppers and comic performances.
"It's a celebration of musical theatre. Life, love and coffee, and everything in between," West said.
"It's just fun and light and frothy which, I think, is what we all need now."
Songwriters John Kander and Fred Ebb penned the scores for the musicals Cabaret and Chicago, and Theme from New York, New York, among many other songs for shows and movies, including The Rink (there will be roller-skates in the show), Kiss of the Spider Woman, Funny Lady (the sequel to Funny Girl) and Woman of the Year (originally a Broadway show starring Lauren Bacall).
The songs are weaved together by the story of workers in a bar turning up to find the business is for sale.
"It turns out happy in the end. The world spins around and we keep going," Blomfield said.
"It's really toe-tapping. You'll laugh and you'll cry. There's lots of amazing talent, all local.
"It's cold outside, come and have a wine and enjoy the show ... and avoid the election."
Blomfield, a graphic designer in her day job, is returning to the Canberra Rep for her first musical role since debuting there in 1996.
"It's a joy because if we had the chance, we would do it professionally, but it's not realistic," she said, of performing.
"You don't have to be a starving artist and sacrifice your craft in this town."
Similarly, the other performers escape the everyday on stage. Julia Walker is a lawyer, Isaac Gordon a sales rep and Joel Hutchings is a public servant.
"I sit and write all day," Walker said of her day job.
"It's thrilling to be in the theatre and be surrounded by people filled with so much creativity and enthusiasm for what they do."
Hutchings, in particular, praised the work of musical director Alexander Unikowski, who not only conducts the show but plays some of the instruments, including four - trumpet, piano, trombone and clarinet - in one song, The Grass is Always Greener from Woman of the Year.
"Xander is one of the best musical directors around," he said.
West, meanwhile, has replotted and reorganised the show to account for the absence of Marceddo, determined to keep true to his vision.
"We wanted to make sure we didn't do one thing, and that was not do the full list," he said.
The World Goes 'Round: The Songs of Kander and Ebb. Directed by Jarrad West. Music director: Alexander Unikowski. Choreography: Caitlin Schlig. May 16 - Jun 1. Canberra Repertory Society. Theatre 3. For bookings go to canberrarep.org.au or call 6257 1950.