Friday, September 17, 2010

Knowing When To Leave? Promises Promises Posts Closing Notice

Knowing When To Leave? Promises Promises Posts Closing Notice

Late yesterday, for the second day in a row, another Broadway show posted its closing notice.

After 291 regular performances, Promises Promises will close on the very same day as West Side Story: January 2, 2011.

Despite earning mixed reviews, Promises Promises showed enormous box office promise right up through two weeks ago when the tuner was still grossing over $1 million in ticket sales.

The only times those figures ever went south of a cool million were when its much-loved leads -- Kristin Chenoweth and the Tony-nominated Sean Hayes -- were temporarily away. Initially, contracts for the duo were through December 26 of this year. In their closing notice announcement, Promises Promises producers indicated that they were able to extend those contracts through the January 2 closing date (although Chenoweth will be out October 15-27 and December 29-January 1).

With the exception of Tony-winner Katie Finneran, who stole the show as the deliriously funny Marge and who is leaving the show October 10 due to a pregnancy, all other principals are remaining with the production until it closes. Finneran's replacement, Molly Shannon, takes over October 12 for the balance of the performances. This will mark Shannon's Broadway debut.

Early on, this revival of Promises Promises made headlines as Hayes seemed unnecessarily targeted by a Newsweek reporter, who asserted that the actor's sexuality made him unbelievable as a romantic lead. Chenoweth fired back, labeling the gay reporter as "knee jerk homophobic." Then, when Hayes hosted the Tony Awards, he and Chenoweth enjoyed perhaps the strangest televised liplock since Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley. But no matter -- both only seemed to fuel box office demand.

While I certainly didn't hate the show, I didn't exactly love it, either. I was somewhere in the middle with my two-star review, mostly because I found the first act so incredibly lumbering, yet surprised in my delight with the second, buoyed by Finneran's charms. But as a fan of "The Apartment," which served as Promises Promises' source material, I was disappointed by how flat the musical's story fell. And the shoe-horning in of songs like "I Say A Little Prayer For You" and "A House Is Not A Home" just didn't work for me.

Still, I had hoped for a second act miracle for the production itself. Just as Finneran lifted the entire musical after Promises Promises' intermission, the thought of an inspired recasting of the leads along the lines of what was accomplished with A Little Night Music intrigued me. But those hopes were dashed as it appears that the production and creative team gave up on finding anyone suitable as a box office draw that could replace either of them. Instead, that same team appears to be limiting its focus on prepping another upcoming 60s-era revival, How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying, for Broadway in the Spring of 2011.

But suppose for a moment that the show were to receive an 11th hour reprieve, whom would you cast as Chuck Baxter and Fran Kubelik?

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

In keeping with the new Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulations that unfairly discriminate against bloggers, who are now required by law to disclose when they have received anything of value they might write about, please note that I have received nothing of value in exchange for this post.

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At 17 September, 2010, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who would I cast? Why, Stritch and Peters, of course! Just kidding, let's see...

Daniel Radcliffe & Leanne Larkin?

At 17 September, 2010, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

That is inspired on both counts.

At 22 September, 2010, Anonymous Timothy Childs said...

In response to Anonymous...

I'm looking forward to Radcliffe in the spring starring in what is essentially a much, much better, but similar musical: HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS. With the same wonderful choreographer-director, I expect great things.

- Timothy Childs


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