Promises, Promises

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A scathing and hilarious satire of the corporate world, PROMISES, PROMISES is the musical adaptation of Billy Wilder’s Oscar-winning film The Apartment.

In New York City in the 1960s, an ambitious accountant named Chuck Baxter lends out his apartment to his supervisors, who need a discreet place for illicit afternoon rendezvous. Miserable and exploited, Chuck finds a beacon of hope in coworker Fran, who is trapped in a romantic predicament of her own. The bittersweet romantic comedy features a groundbreaking contemporary score from composer Burt Bacharach.

The score includes the blockbuster hit “I’ll Never Fall In Love Again,” plus “Knowing When To Leave,” “Turkey Lurkey Time,” “Whoever You Are,” and the title song.

  • Synopsis
  • Credits
  • Orchestration
  • Materials
  • Cast
  • History
  • Upcoming
  • Act I

    Chuck Baxter, an ambitious bachelor and junior executive for a large insurance company called Consolidated Life, expresses his frustrations and hopes for career advancement (“Half as Big as Life”). To curry favor with higher-ups in the company, he allows his apartment to be used for their romantic trysts in return for promises of promotion (“Upstairs”). Chuck has his own eye set on Fran Kubelik, a waitress in the company cafeteria whom he’s always admired from a distance. While talking to Chuck, she wonders if she will ever find someone to share her life with. Chuck hopes that she might notice him (“You’ll Think of Someone”).

    J.D. Sheldrake, the company’s powerful personnel director, notices the glowing reviews written by Chuck’s superiors and deduces the reason for them. He requests sole use of the apartment for his affairs in exchange for Chuck’s long-awaited promotion and tickets to a basketball game (“Our Little Secret”). Chuck asks Fran to attend the basketball game with him, and she agrees to meet him there after first having a drink with her soon-to-be ex-lover (“She Likes Basketball”).

    Fran’s lover turns out to be Sheldrake, who is married. Fran wants to end the relationship, but Sheldrake talks her into spending the evening with him (“Knowing When to Leave”). Though Fran stands him up, Chuck forgives her. When he informs the other executives that his apartment is no longer available for their use, they express dismay (“Where Can You Take a Girl?”). Meanwhile, Sheldrake wonders why he is drawn to affairs (“Wanting Things”). The scene shifts to the raucous company Christmas party (“Turkey Lurkey Time”). At the party, Miss Olsen, Sheldrake’s secretary, reveals to Fran that she is simply the latest in a long line of Sheldrake’s mistresses. The first-act curtain falls as Chuck discovers that Fran is the one Sheldrake has been taking to his apartment.

    Act II

    A despondent Chuck spends Christmas Eve trying to drink away his troubles at a bar. He meets another tipsy lonelyheart, Marge MacDougall, who agrees to come back to his apartment (“A Fact Can Be a Beautiful Thing”). In the meantime, at Chuck’s apartment, Fran confronts Sheldrake about his earlier affairs. While he admits to the affairs, he declares his love for Fran, but tells her that he must leave in order to catch his train home to spend Christmas Eve with his family. A despairing Fran discovers Chuck’s sleeping pills and takes the whole bottle (“Whoever You Are”).

    When Chuck arrives with Marge, he discovers Fran on his bed. After quickly disposing of Marge, a frantic Chuck gets his neighbor, Dr. Dreyfuss, to come over, and together they save her life. The next morning Chuck calls Sheldrake to let him know what happened. Sheldrake says he can’t leave for the city without his wife knowing and asks Chuck to take care of Fran (“Christmas Day”).

    Over the next few days Chuck and Dreyfuss try to keep Fran’s spirits up to prevent a relapse into suicidal behavior (“A Young Pretty Girl Like You”). Chuck and Fran play gin rummy and discuss their problems, growing closer (“I’ll Never Fall In Love Again”). Mr. Kirkeby, one of Chuck’s former ‘clients,’ discovers that Fran has been staying at Chuck’s apartment, so as revenge for cutting him and the others off from using the apartment he tells Fran’s overly protective brother where she has been staying. Karl Kubelik then comes to the apartment to collect her and, believing that Chuck is the cause of her current state, punches Chuck.

    Miss Olsen soon discovers that Sheldrake’s actions led to Fran almost killing herself. She quits her job and tells Mrs. Sheldrake all about her husband’s affairs. She leaves him, resulting in his desperation to woo Fran back. Sheldrake asks for the keys to Chuck’s apartment again on New Year’s Eve to take Fran there. Chuck refuses and quits his job rather than allow Sheldrake to take Fran to his apartment ever again (“Promises, Promises”).

    Deciding that he has to get away, Chuck begins packing to move elsewhere when Fran comes to see him. Sheldrake had told her that Chuck had refused him access and quit, and she realizes that Chuck is the one who really loves her. As they resume their earlier game of gin, he declares his love for her, to which she replies, “Shut up and play cards.”

  • PROMISES, PROMISES
    Book by Neil Simon
    Based on the Screenplay THE APARTMENT
    by Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond
    Music by Burt Bacharach          Lyrics by Hal David
    Produced for the Broadway Stage by David Merrick

    Such credits to the authors for all purposes shall be in type size equal to or greater than that of any other credits except for that of the star(s) above the title. In the programs, the credits shall appear on the title page thereof.

    The title page of the program shall contain the following announcement in type size at least one-half the size of the authors’ credits:

    PROMISES, PROMISES
    is presented by arrangement with
    Tams-Witmark, A Concord Theatricals Company
    www.tamswitmark.com

    Additionally, you agree to include the above language hyperlinked to https://tamswitmark.com/ on all websites on which you promote the play.

  • Full Orchestration:

    3 Violins I & II
    2 Cello I & II
    1 Bass and Fender Bass

    1 Reed I: Flute, Piccolo, Clarinet, Alto Saxophone & optional Alto Flute
    1 Reed II: Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Tenor Saxophone & optional Flute
    1 Reed Ill: Clarinet, Tenor Saxophone & optional Oboe
    1 Reed IV: Clarinet, Baritone Saxophone & optional Flute

    1 Horn
    2 Trumpet I & II (both double on Flugelhorn)
    1 Trumpet III
    1 Trombone I
    1 Trombone II

    2 Percussion I & II:

    I: (Mallets)
    Timpani (2)
    Scraper
    Triangle
    Tambourine
    Chimes
    Cabaza
    Bells
    Tubophone (optional)
    Vibraphone
    Xylophone
    Finger Cymbals
    Sleigh Bells
    II: (Trap Drum Set)
    Bass Drum
    Snare Drum
    Tom Tom
    Cymbals (Suspended, Hi-Hat, Finger)
    Triangle
    Tambourine
    Cowbell
    Wood Block
    Whistle

    2 Guitar I & II (both double Electric Guitar, Guitar II also doubles Bass Guitar)
    1 Piano and Electric Piano (Piano-Conductor’s Score sent with rehearsal material.)

    NOTE: Violins, Cello, Horn and Trombone II are optional parts.

  • Rehearsal Materials

    2   Piano/Conductor Scores
    20 Libretto/Vocal Books

    Optional Additional Materials

    Three Optional Additional Numbers:
    “I Say A Little Prayer”
    “A House I Not A Home”
    “A House I Not A Home (Reprise)”

  • Chuck Baxter
    J. D. Sheldrake
    Fran Kubelik
    Dobitch
    Sylvia Gilhooley
    Kirkeby
    Ginger
    Eichelberger
    Vivien
    Dr. Dreyfuss
    Jesse Vanderhof
    Miss Kreplinski (Nurse)
    1st Girl
    2nd Girl
    Nurse (Office)
    Doctor (Office)
    Miss Olson
    Hostess
    Waiter
    Watchman
    Marge MacDougall
    Karl Kubelik
    Intern
    Young Man
    Mrs. Sheldrake

  • PROMISES, PROMISES played for 1281 performances on Broadway at the Shubert Theatre starring Jill O’Hara, Jerry Orbach and Marian Mercer. It was revived on Broadway at the Broadway Theatre in 2010 starring Kristin Chenoweth, Sean Hayes and Kate Finneran.

    AWARDS 1969

    2 Tony Awards for Best Actor and Best Featured Actress.
    2 Theatre World Awards for outstanding performances by Jerry Orbach and Jill O’Hara.
    3 Drama Desk Awards for outstanding performances by Marian Mercer and Jerry Orbach, and for outstanding music by Burt Bacharach.

    AWARDS 2010

    The Tony Award for Best Featured Actress
    The Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actress

  • Find upcoming performances near you.

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    Organization City, State First Performance Last Performance
    The Academy Players Providence, RI 03/21/2019 03/30/2019