Evan Pappas and Kelli Rabke continue their two-city engagement of a revised version of Promises, Promises, the 1968 Neil Simon-Burt Bacharach-Hal David musical, March 6-11 at the Bushnell Theatre in Hartford, CT.
Jeffrey Finn Productions presents this recent rewrite of the hit show (including a song not in the original score) for a limited tour. It plays The Playhouse Theatre in Wilmington, DE, through March 4 (performances began Feb. 23). Promises, Promises was one of the first Broadway musicals to offer a pop-rock sound, and spawned several hit records, including the title song.
Paul Schoeffer (Peter Pan), Beth Glover (Goodspeed Musicals' Red, Hot and Blue!) and Brenda Braxton (Smokey Joe's Cafe) also star in the musical adaptation of Billy Wilder's popular film, "The Apartment," about a corporate shlub named Chuck Baxter (played by Pappas), who earns promotions by lending his pad out to executives for sexual liaisons. Things get complicated when Chuck falls for one of the office women, Fran (played by Rabke), who is invited to the flat by an exec. The musical spawned the memorable pop hits "I'll Never Fall in Love Again" and "Promises, Promises," both popularly recorded by Dionne Warwick.
Neil Simon penned the original book and revised it for the popular Encores! concert revival at City Center in 1997. In that revival, a "new" song, "You've Got It All Wrong," was interpolated and will be performed in this production by Rabke and Brenda Braxton, who plays secretary Peggy Olsen. It was not immediately clear if the tune was a trunk song from 1968 or newly written for Encores! The score also includes "Knowing When to Leave" (which got radio airplay), "Where Can You Take a Girl?," "You'll Think of Someone," "Turkey Lurkey Time," "It's Our Little Secret," "A Fact Can Be a Beautiful Thing," "Wanting Things," "Whoever You Are, I Love You," "Half As Big As Life," "She Likes Basketball," "Upstairs," "A Young Pretty Girl Like You."
Pappas has appeared in Putting It Together, Parade and My Favorite Year on Broadway. Rabke was seen in Broadway's Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Les Misérables, and Tony Award-nominee Braxton sang in Dreamgirls, Cats, Jelly's Last Jam. Schoeffler is boss J.D. Sheldrake, Glover is quirky saloon date Marge McDougall (a one-scene hit in the original staging, with Marian Mercer in the role). The 20-member company also features Todd Anderson, Steven Cates, James Darrah, Michael Goddard, Michael Hayward-Jones, A.J. Irvin, Daren Kelly, Pauline A. Locsin, Steve Ochoa, Michele Ragusa, Krissy Richmond, Carol Schuberg, Gordon Stanley, Rod Weber and Jennifer West.
Tony Stevens directs and choreographs. Designers are John Farrell (sets), Jeffrey Koger (lighting), Theresa Squire (costumes) and Robert Kaplowitz and Scott Stauffer (sound). Musical director is Lawrence Goldberg.
Jerry Orbach won a Tony Award for his work in the original staging, which was produced by David Merrick. The musical ran 1,281 performances and was one of the first mainstream Broadway musicals to offer a commercial pop sound in its score.
Producer Jeffrey Finn operates Jeffrey Finn Productions (JFP), an entertainment and production management company. JFP credits include Off-Broadway's Game Show and the recent national tours of The Who's Tommy, Stephen Sondheim's Company, Chess, Diahann Carroll in Almost Like Being in Love, Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr. in Hit Me With a Hot Note!, A Swell Party, Puttin' on the Ritz and This Funny World. Jeffrey Finn Productions also produced the American premiere of the London musical, A Slice of Saturday Night, Unsung Musicals and Direct From Broadway at The Kennedy Center.
Director-choreographer Tony Stevens danced in nine Broadway shows and assisted Peter Gennaro on Irene and Bob Fosse with the original company of Chicago. On Broadway he choreographed Rockabye Hamlet, Rachel Lily Rosenbloom and Perfectly Frank. He also helmed the 20th anniversary tour of Jesus Christ Superstar, Dreamgirls (1998), Betty Buckley at Carnegie Hall, and Off-Broadway's Zombie Prom.
For $17-$51 ticket information about the Hartford Bushnell Theatre booking, call (860) 987-5900 or (800) 233-3123, or visit http://www.bushnell.org.
— By Kenneth Jones