Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Promises, Promises

When Hollywood Went Broadway

By David Luhrssen
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Broadway once supplied Hollywood with the material for many movies; in recent decades, Broadway, now less a hive of creativity than a tourist attraction, often takes its lead from Hollywood. But in the early 1960s, the Great White Way had already ventured into a film-based production with Promises, Promises. Drawn from Billy Wilder’s classic critique of amoral corporate culture, The Apartment, the musical featured a book by Neil Simon and music by a rising team that would help define ‘60s pop, Burt Bacharach and Hal David.

Promises, Promises has returned to the stage for the first time in years staring Sean Hayes as the hapless Chuck Baxter, Kristin Chenoweth as the much abused Miss Kubelik and Tony Goldwyn as ice cold J.D. Sheldrake. Masterworks Broadway has released the new cast recording, whose stars sing to arrangements that sound true to the music’s era. Many of the numbers are married to the plot and form a sequence of story expositions. Several songs, however, are stand-alones that went on to capture the imagination of radio listeners and record buyers in the ‘60s, especially “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again,” “I Say a Little Prayer For You” and the title number.In those years, Broadway still sometimes led the hit parade as well as Hollywood.

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