April 25, 2010

Promises Leads To Joy

Lani and I saw the revival of Promises, Promises at the Broadway Theatre last Saturday (Apr. 17/mat). I was excited to see it more so because of the songs by Burt Bacharach and Hal David and it was just a bonus that Sean Hayes and Kristin Chenoweth star in it as Chuck Baxter and Fran Kubelik.

The musical is based on the movie The Apartment and is set in Manhattan in the 60's. It involves Chuck Baxter, an employee of Consolidated Life Insurance who lends out his apartment to executives who use it for their trysts. Chuck becomes popular and advances in the company until he discovers that the woman he loves, Ms. Kubelik, becomes entangled with his boss, Mr. Sheldrake (Tony Goldwyn).

Sean Hayes is charming and adorable as Chuck Baxter. He has a really good singing voice and is really excellent with physical comedy. I did get some "Jack McFarland" vibe from him from time to time at certain parts of the show but was totally fine with it. It's lovely to get to hear Kristin Chenoweth's crystal clear voice again as she has some of the greatest songs in the show with "I'll Never Fall In Love Again" and "A House Is Not A Home" but I really didn't feel for her Fran. Fran as a character should be naive and gullible and fragile but Ms. Chenoweth's demeanor emanates a more mature and worldly woman that doesn't fit Fran's character. Tony Goldwyn, who by the way has a good voice too, was able to walk the thin line between suave and sleaze really well. Katie Finneran is the surprising break out star who comes out of nowhere in this story as Marge McDougal. She is hilarious! She's a genius with physical comedy and we were in stitches with her every line. What a natural!

The set and costumes exude a very Mad Men kind of vibe. Very slick and chic and so is the staging and choreography. In particular, the opening number where Rob Ashford (Director and Choreographer) managed to create a unique dance sequence with office chairs and coat racks which I really enjoyed. As for Turkey Lurkey Time, the well known dance sequence during the office party, it would be hard to compete with the original Michael Bennett choreography but this version did pay homage to it with head shakes and arm circles. It's always enthralling to watch Megan Sikora dance and here as Ms. Polansky, with tight turns and beautiful lines, she makes it look so easy. She is equal grace and sass. Just a joy to watch. It's also wonderful to hear the orchestrations (Jonathan Tunick) which were great as well as the transition music and underscoring throughout the show. An added lovely touch is the vocal backup orchestra during the songs which make the score richer. Listen for it!

Some photos I took that day:

the cast board

Sean Hayes so generously spent time signing everyone's playbill

Kristin Chenoweth - she's so tiny!

But really nice!


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