Promises, Promises – Theater Review
To get ahead, a junior executive allows bigwigs to use his apartments for trysts. But what happens when his own office crush is one of the visitors? Songs include “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again.” Based on the movie The Apartment by Billy Wilder.
Promises, Promises is a musical based on the movie “The Apartment” with Jack Lemmon, Fred McMurray and Shirley McClaine. The musical has the book by Neil Simon, music by Burt Bacharach and lyrics by Hal David, certainly impressive credentials. However, Sean Hayes plays the Jack Lemmon character, Kristin Chenoweth plays the Shirley McClaine character, and Tony Goldwyn plays the Fred McMurray character who borrows an apartment to seduce a hapless coworker. While all three of these are charming, cuter, and younger, they really don’t bring the chops necessary. Now granted this is a musical, not a drama. Sean Hayes is certainly charming, although I think the director’s decision to ignore the fourth wall and have him talk directly to the audience is a dreadful mistake. Kristin Chenoweth is a very charming actress and was wonderful in You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, and got many awards that prove that she is a good stage actress. I think she just doesn’t bring the level of vulnerability to this part that’s necessary. Tony Goldwyn is probably the best cast, but the whole thing really left me flat. The first act is really a snooze. The second act actually was much better, but primarily because of Katie Finneran, who comes out and really steals the show out from underneath everybody and brings some much needed energy, fun, and excitement to the character of Marge McDougal, a kind of slutty woman who is the one who’s going to make poor, old Sean forget Kristin. The audience responded with exactly the same enthusiasm I did, her applause sort of doubling everybody else’s put together. So, Promises, Promises doesn’t exactly deliver, deliver. Two stars.