Producers Hope to Bring Promises, Promises Back to Broadway

By Kenneth Jones
and Andrew Gans
22 Oct 2008

Sean Hayes took part in a recent Promises, Promises reading.
Sean Hayes took part in a recent Promises, Promises reading.
Photo by Joan Marcus

Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, the producers of the Academy Award-winning film "Chicago," and the musical movie "Hairspray," are among producers exploring bringing a revival of Promises, Promises to Broadway.

No dates, venue or production plan have been announced for the pop musical, but Zadan's office confirmed to Playbill.com that a private industry reading of the 40-year-old script and score was held Oct. 18 in Manhattan.

Producers John Gore, Beth Williams (Broadway Across America) and Harvey and Bob Weinstein are also connected to the project, which would represent the first Broadway revival of the musical inspired by Billy Wilder's motion picture comedy, "The Apartment."

At the Oct. 18 reading, Sean Hayes ("Will and Grace," Damn Yankees for Encores! Summer Stars, TV's "Martin and Lewis") played Chuck Baxter, the role originated by Jerry Orbach. Anne Hathaway ("The Princess Diaries," "Rachel Getting Married") played Fran Kubelik, created by Jill O'Hara.

At this time no cast is committed; it's an industry standard that reading casts do not necessarily reflect future full-production casting.



Tony Award winner Rob Ashford (Thoroughly Modern Millie) is attached as director-choreographer.

The 1968 musical with book by Neil Simon and songs by Hal David and Burt Bacharach was nominated for Best Musical at the 1969 Tony Awards.

Promises, Promises concerns a corporate shlub named Chuck Baxter, 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, 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.

Simon penned the original book and revised it for the Encores! concert revival at City Center in 1997. In that revival, a "new" song, "You've Got It All Wrong," was interpolated. 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" and "A Young Pretty Girl Like You."

Orbach won the 1969 Best Actor in a Musical Tony Award for his work in the original staging, which was produced by David Merrick. Marian Mercer won the Tony as Best Featured Actress in a Musical, playing the small and quirky role of Marge MacDougall, who essentially gets one scene and one song (with Chuck).

The musical also received Tony nominations for A. Larry Haine (Featured Actor in a Musical), Edward Winter (Featured Actor in a Musical), Jill O'Hara (Actress in a Musical), Michael Bennett (Choreographer) and Robert Moore (Director) and Best Musical.

Promises, Promises ran 1,281 performances and was one of the first mainstream Broadway musicals to offer a commercial pop sound in its score.