Archive for Promises Promises
Promises, Promises opened on Broadway to some mixed reviews. It’s not the worst thing to hit the Great White Way this month, but the show feels listless, measured, dated and a little boring. Critics applaud Sean Hayes’ timing and a standout performance by Katie Finneran, but feel that Kristin Chenoweth is miscast, the choreography uninspired and the set inappropriate. Though no one was expecting a Burt Bacharach/Neil Simon revival to blow the top off of Broadway, critics were disappointed that Rob Ashford didn’t create something a little more exciting and cohesive from the source material and talent on hand.
The New York Times
Even that singing sparkplug Kristin Chenoweth, who stars opposite a charming Sean Hayes in his Broadway debut, seems to feel the prevailing lassitude. Promises, Promises, which features a book by Neil Simon and songs by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, comes fully to life only briefly, at the beginning of its second act, when a comic volcano named Katie Finneran erupts into molten hilarity. Otherwise the white-hot charms this musical is said to have once possessed are left sleeping. Read the full review.
Most of today’s audience, admittedly, is unfamiliar with the show and won’t carp at the changes. But they might well notice that something is off; “Promises” is like a well-calibrated watch that has been pulled apart and reassembled with a spring missing (or in this case, with a couple of extra parts) … Director / choreographer Rob Ashford is less resourceful than usual and only intermittently effective; his big idea here seems to be to add dancers doing the frug in the background. It is not Ashford’s fault that Michael Bennett’s original staging of “Turkey Lurkey Time,” the big first-act production number, is easily viewable on the Internet; but it is that energy and humor that is altogether missing from the current staging. Neither is the physical production especially helpful. Read the full review.
New York Post
Indeed, the “Will & Grace” star is a revelation. Chuck is a paradox — a self-effacing lead — but the actor handles the transitions between the character’s passive bearing and his active imagination with dexterity. Hayes, Chenoweth and the excellent supporting cast — including Dick Latessa — benefit from Ashford’s direction: The staging of pop songs has rarely been as sharp as it is in this show. On the other hand, Ashford underwhelms as choreographer, which is odd considering the bang-up dances he created for “Thoroughly Modern Millie” and “Cry-Baby.” The biggest letdown is “Turkey Lurkey Time,” an ensemble number with a single purpose: to kill. Here, it delivers only a flesh wound. But this isn’t enough to spoil the fun. “Promises, Promises” is a candy-flavored ride that more than delivers on its title. Read the full review.
For this story to work, both Chuck and Fran must be young and dewy-eyed, just like the movie’s radiant Shirley MacLaine (25 at the time) and charmingly vulnerable Jack Lemmon (34 but seeming years younger). If the characters are older and thus more experienced, their actions become off-putting. Neither Hayes nor Chenoweth can conjure such youth believably … Rob Ashford’s direction prizes yuks over truth, symbolized by a period chair in Sheldrake’s office that exists solely for a visual joke requiring utterly unbelievable behavior from Sheldrake, while Ashford’s busy choreography can’t erase memories of Michael Bennett’s delightfully simple “She Likes Basketball” or orgiastic “Turkey Lurkey Time.” Set designer Scott Pask imprisons the show in a wraparound cyclorama reminiscent of the Berlin Wall. Read the full review.
For much of the time, the production, which opened Sunday, coasts amiably on the considerable appeal of its leading man, Sean Hayes, who is making an impressive Broadway debut … Chenoweth naturally exudes peppiness, a sunny quality that for much of the time has to remain hidden here under Fran’s morose, other-woman persona. Yet she and Hayes score in a quietly effective rendition of “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again,” the best-known of the songs written specifically for the musical. Ashford’s choreography is efficient if not exactly joyous, even for the show’s biggest dance number, “Turkey Lurkey Time,” a frantic Christmas office party revelry. Read the full review.
Time Out New York
The endearing Hayes excels at his nebbishy physical comedy and zany confidences with the audience, but still seems nervous in the wrong ways when he sings. More problematic is the talented but miscast Chenoweth, who tries to work against her patented micro-Valkyrie persona but remains too strong and mature for Fran. Two famous songs—“I Say a Little Prayer” and “A House Is Not a Home”—have been added for her; although the second one actively contradicts the plot, in a way it is this production’s theme song. Read the full review.
Under Ashford’s hand, what should be machine-oil slick comes dangerously close to sleazy, what ought to be buoyant often feels bloated, and more often than not craft bears more than a passing resemblance to cruft … This is a serious-minded musical comedy, then, that requires everyone work in the same high rise. Ashford’s uneven work with the actors, all-over-the-map choreography, and uncertainty about whether the show should be one- or three-dimensional keep the doors firmly locked. The same indecision can be seen in Scott Pask’s set, which sometimes look like a Laugh In leftover and at other times like it belongs in, well, any other Neil Simon play; Bruce Pask’s costumes also alternate rockily between subdued and zany. Only Donald Holder’s lights paint a consistent picture throughout. Read the full review.
Yesterday, Hunter and Sutton Foster announced the nominees for the 60th annual Outer Critics Circle Awards, which honor the best in Broadway and Off-Broadway theatre. Winners will be announced on May 27 here on the blog. Here are this year’s musical theater nominees:
Outstanding New Off-Broadway Musical
Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson
The Scottsboro Boys
Tin Pan Alley Rag
Outstanding New Score (Broadway or Off-Broadway)
Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson
The Scottsboro Boys
Outstanding Set Design (Play or Musical)
John Lee Beatty, The Royal Family
Beowulf Boritt, Sondheim on Sondheim
Phelim McDermott & Julian Crouch, The Addams Family
Donyale Werle, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson
Outstanding Costume Design (Play or Musical)
Jane Greenwood, Present Laughter
Martin Pakledinaz, Lend Me a Tenor
Matthew Wright, La Cage aux Folles
Catherine Zuber, The Royal Family
Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical
Kevin Chamberlin, The Addams Family
Christopher Fitzgerald, Finian’s Rainbow
Levi Kreis, Million Dollar Quartet
Dick Latessa, Promises, Promises
Bobby Steggert, Ragtime
Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical
Carolee Carmello, The Addams Family
Katie Finneran, Promises, Promises
Angela Lansbury, A Little Night Music
Cass Morgan, Memphis
Terri White, Finian’s Rainbow
The 2010 Drama League nominees have been announced. Chosen by a group of theater professionals and patrons, these include both On and Off-Broadway New York productions. Winners will be announced on May 21. Without further ado, here are the musical theater nominees:
Distinguished Production of a Musical
Distinguished Revival of a Musical
Distinguished Performance Award
Barbara Cook, Sondheim on Sondheim
Brandon Victor Dixon, The Scottsboro Boys
Katie Finneran, Promises, Promises
John Gallagher Jr., American Idiot
Montego Glover, Memphis
Kelsey Grammer, La Cage aux Folles
Lance Guest, Million Dollar Quartet
Dean Hayes, Promises, Promises
The Ensemble of Brief Encounter
Douglas Hodge, La Cage aux Folles
Levi Kreis, Million Dollar Quartet
Nathan Lane, The Addams Family
Angela Lansbury, A Little Night Music
Jim Norton, Finian’s Rainbow
Karine Plantadit, Come Fly Away
Bobby Steggert, Ragtime, Yank!
Tony Vincent, American Idiot
Benjamin Walker, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson
Vanessa Williams, Sondheim on Sondheim
Catherine Zeta-Jones, A Little Night Music
Distinguished Achievement in Musical Theatre
New Musicals and Transfers
The Michael Grandage-directed production of Evita, which opened at London’s Adelphi Theatre in June 2006 is officially heading to Broadway next year. Elena Roger, who starred in the West End production, will repeat her performance in the Broadway remount. Rumor has it that Ricky Martin is in talks to play Che, though this has not been confirmed.
Disney was apparently in talks with Billy Elliot‘s Stephen Daldry to direct a stage adaptation of Dumbo. Though he turned down the job, they’re still on the hunt for a new director for the musical. We can only hope Dumbo will fare better than some of Disney’s recent attempts to adapt their animated films for the stage (ie. The Little Mermaid, Tarzan). No names have yet been attached to this project.
A new jukebox musical called Unchain My Heart will be heading to Broadway on Nov. 7 this year. Featuring the music of Ray Charles and a book by Suzan-Lori Parks, casting for the production has not yet been announced.
The Canadian Press is reporting that Mel Brooks is working on a musical adaptation of his film, Blazing Saddles. Brooks has apparently already written two songs for the show though he’ll be taking his time bringing it to Broadway due to the “lukewarm” reception Young Frankenstein received.
Producer David Shor announced the creative team for the Broadway aimed Sleepless in Seattle – The Musical. Michelle Citrin, Michael Garin and Josh Nelson will serve as composers/lyricists, Jeff Arch (who co-wrote the movie’s screenplay) will be the show’s librettist and Joel Zwick will direct. The musical adaptation is hoping to make a Broadway bow on Valentine’s Day 2011.
News About Shows Opening Soon
Kristin Chenoweth will be singing the song “I Say a Little Prayer” in the revival of Promises, Promises. Though by the show’s composer, Burt Bacharach, the song was not included in the original production. Not exactly sure where they’re gonna put it, but I’m guessing it’s gonna be one of those where the guy behind you starts singing along…
Kelsey Grammer who is returning to Broadway in the role of Georges in La Cage Aux Folles, shared that he will take on the role of Albin six months into the musical’s run. In other casting news, the musical’s producers announced that Fred Applegate (The Producers, Young Frankenstein) will take on the roles of Edouard Dindon and M. Renaud in La Cage Aux Folles.
It may not even fit under this category anymore (though Julie Taymor is adamant that it will open this fall), but the big news is that Evan Rachel Wood, who was to play Mary Jane Watson in Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, has left the production due to “scheduling conflicts.”
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s sequel to Phantom of the Opera, Love Never Dies, opened to mixed reviews in London. The show is likely to undergo changes before heading to the Great White Way, so who knows what it will look like when it comes our way. Anyone here seen it on the West End?
Rumor is that Alice Ripley will be touring with the Next to Normal cast, which is exciting news for those who haven’t been able to make the trip to NYC! As to the Broadway replacement, producers are holding open Equity auditions. Wonder who they’ll find to replace her…
The new tribe for Broadway’s Hair has taken over and the OBC headed to the West End. Led by Diana DeGarmo, Ace Young, and Kyle Riabko, this American-Idol heavy group seems to be just as energetic and excited as their predecessors.
Emily Padgett (Grease, Legally Blonde) has succeeded Tony nominee Kerry Butler as Sherrie in the Broadway production of Rock of Ages. Derek St. Pierre and Katie Webber (Memphis) will join the cast on March 22.
Catherine Zeta-Jones and Angela Lansbury are leaving A Little Night Music on June 20 but the show will run through through Aug 29. It will be interesting to see who ends up stepping in for the last couple of months and if the show will last after its stars’ departure.
Karl Kenzler and Megan Osterhaus joined the Broadway company of Mary Poppins on March 1 in the roles of George Banks and Winifred Banks, succeeding Jeff Binder and Rebecca Luker.
Cast Album and DVD Releases
The cast album for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Love Never Dies is now out in stores.
And the cast recording for The Addams Family, which opens on Broadway on April 8, will be available in June 2010.
“Glee” – Air dates TBA – Neil Patrick Harris, Idina Menzel
“Ugly Betty” – Wed, Mar 17 – Aaron Tveit and Carol Kane
“The View” – Thur, March 25 – Michael Feinstein and Dame Edna
“The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” – Tues, March 16 – Hugh Jackman
“The Today Show” – Wed, March 17 – Riverdance performance
All About Me – March 18
This Dame Edna and Michael Feinstein spectacle got a lot of buzz when the two stars originally claimed to be mounting similarly titled solo shows, but since then buzz about the show has died down. Written by Christopher Durang and directed by Casey Nicholaw, the show seems to be testing what happens when you put four big personalities in a room together. Having seen each of their creations in the past, hopes are high that together they’ll pull off something wonderfully fun.
Come Fly Away – March 25
There’s been next to no buzz about Twyla Tharp’s Frank Sinatra inspired musical, which will feature a lot of dancing and a 19-piece band. Burn the Floor, which just closed on Broadway, proved that there is an audience for ballroom dance, and Mamma Mia has shown that audiences love a good jukebox musical, so maybe it’ll work; it’ll either flop hard and fast, or go on to become the next Contact. Let’s hope its the latter.
The Addams Family – April 8
Featuring Broadway vets Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth, writers of this new show penned an original storyline, rather than attempting to adapt the movie or TV show – a very smart move considering the limited successes of some recent adaptations. The musical will likely need to enjoy a long run in order to recoup its investment and from what they’ve shown so far – it looks like they may have a shot.
Million Dollar Quartet – April 11
This Chicago transfer is hoping to capitalize on the jukebox musical phenomenon. Starring the four Broadway newcomers who originated their roles in Chicago, this musical tells the tale of a jam session that included Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins. Audiences and critics in Chicago adored this production largely due to the performances of the four leads – so Broadway theater-goers can count themselves lucky that producers are willing to take a risk on four unknowns.
La Cage Aux Folles – April 18
Douglas Hodge will recreate his Oliver Award-winning performance in this UK transfer alongside Kelsey Grammer. Many were startled to see the show is returning to Broadway so soon (the last production of La Cage aux Folles closed in June of 2005), but the Mernier Chocolate Factory has only sent over great productions in the past, so there’s little doubt this will be anything but a wonderful treat.
American Idiot – April 20
After playing to packed houses in Berkley, this show, created by a phenomenal production team of Broadway big hitters, has developed a devoted following and earned a reputation for being something entirely new. With music from the Grammy Award-winning album, a fantastic, youthful cast and an audience among the Next to Normal and Spring Awakening crowd, this show has only to live up to half of the hype to become a success.
Sondheim on Sondheim – April 22
A collection of fantastic actors (Barbara Cook, Vanessa Williams, Michael ARden, Leslie Kritzer and more) will be singing some of Sondheim’s best songs in this tribute to the man. Yes, Sondheim has had lots of musical reviews over the years, but this one may be worth it – if only to see some of these performers live again.
Promises, Promises – April 25
Finally Kristin Chenoweth is making her way back to Broadway! Joining her is another star of the small screen, Sean Hayes. This show isn’t likely to change the course of musical theater, but it is nice to know there will be some lighthearted old-fashioned fare on Broadway.
Brooks Ashmanskas, Katie Finneran and Tony Goldwyn are joining Kristin Chenoweth and Sean Hayes in Promises, Promises
Producers announced today that Brooks Ashmanskas, Katie Finneran and Tony Goldwyn will join Kristin Chenoweth and Sean Hayes in the cast of the first Broadway revival of Promises, Promises.
The musical is based on Billy Wilder’s film “The Apartment,” with a book by Neil Simon, music by Burt Bacharach and lyrics by Hal David. The show will mark the Broadway directorial debut for Tony award winning choreographer Rob Ashford (Thoroughly Modern Millie, Cry-Baby).
Previews at the Broadway Theatre begin on March 27, 2010, with an opening set for April 25.
Finian’s Rainbow opens tonight on Broadway
The Broadway revival of Finian’s Rainbow opens on Broadway tonight, October 29, 2009. Starring Jim Norton (The Seafarer) as Finian, Kate Baldwin (Wonderful Town) as Sharon, Cheyenne Jackson (Xanadu) as Woody, and Christopher Fitzgerald (Young Frankenstein) as Og, we’re looking to see how the public responds to the show.
For years it was thought to be an unrevivable show due to its racist content, but with a reworking of the book and songs like “Old Devil Moon,” “If This isn’t Love” and “How are Things in Glocca Morra?,” we think it more than deserves a another run on the Great White Way.
Going to see it? Interested in writing a review for the blog here? Contact me!
Promises, Promises to star Chenoweth and Hayes; opens March 25
Producers have announced that Promises, Promises will officially star Sean Hayes and Kristin Chenoweth. This will be the first ever revival of the musical, will open at the Broadway Theater on March 25.
With a book by Neil Simon, music by Burt Bacharah and lyrics by Hal David, the show will mark Hayes first appearance on Broadway and Chenoweth’s happy return. The original 1968 production played 1,268 performances on Broadway, was nominated for 8 Tony awards and awarded a Grammy.
Run DMC musical eyeing Broadway
Hollywood producer Paula Wagner is working with the rappers Joseph Simmons (Run) and Darryl McDaniels (DMC) and the estate of Jason Mizell (Jam Master Jay) about creating a stage musical about Run DMC’s road to fame.
No dates, casting or other collaborators have yet been announced.
Mary Murphy to make guest appearance in Burn the Floor
Mary Murphy from Fox’s “So You Think You Can Dance” will make a one-night-only guest star appearance in Broadway’s Burn the Floor on December 22, partnering with ballroom champion Vaidas Skimelis.
Katie Holmes may star in the stage musical version of Cocktail
Rumors are flying that Katie Holmes may be under consideration for a starring role in the Broadway musical version of the 80s movie, Cocktail, that is being penned for the stage by Heywood Gould – the original author and screenwriter. Producer Marty Richards is on board and though Gould said “it’s far too early to talk about casting,” he did mention he “like[s] Katie Holmes.”
Little Miss Sunshine musical workshop stars Bierko, Latessa and Rene Scott
The stage musical version of Little Miss Sunshine is workshopping with stars Craig Bierko (Guys and Dolls, The Music Man), Dick Latessa (Hairspray, Damn Yankees), and Sherie Rene Scott (The Little Mermaid, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Aida) in Florida right now.
The adaptation of the 2006 film features a score by William Finn with book and direction by James Lapine.
We can only hope it’s good-enough to take to Broadway with those names on board.
Judy and Sayle to star in the Broadway-aimed A Christmas Story, The Musical!
Later this month, another production eyeing Broadway, A Christmas Story, The Musical!, will open out-of-town. The cast features talent with many Broadway shows under their belts, including James Judy (The Scarlet Pimpernel), Zachary Carter Sayle (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang), John Bolton (Curtains, Spamalot) and Anne L. Nathan (Assassins, Sunday in the Park with George).
The New York Post is reporting that Tony Award winner Kristin Chenoweth is in negotiations to play Fran Kubelik in the upcoming Broadway revival of the musical Promises, Promises.
The Rob Ashford directed/choreographed revival, which will star Sean Hayes (Will & Grace) as Chuck Baxter, is produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron. The show features music is by Burt Bacharach, lyrics by Hal David and book by Neil Simon
The original version of Promises, Promises ran 1,281 performances and was one of the first mainstream Broadway musicals to offer a commercial pop sound in its score.
Rumor has it that Scarlett Johansson is heading to Broadway, set to star opposite Will & Grace star Sean Hayes in a revival of the Neil Simon musical Promises, Promises.
Also rumored – directors Harold Prince and Susan Stroman are set to collaborate on an upcoming Broadway musical called Paradise Found, an adaptation of the novel The Tale of the 1002nd Night. Mandy Patinkin is rumored to be under consideration as the Shah’s eunich.