Bacharach music, Simon dialogue: `Promises' fulfilled

Musical: Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre skillfully presents morality play on office romance.


August 01, 2002|By Mary Johnson | Mary Johnson,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

The Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre folks can hardly miss with their August show selection based on the Billy Wilder-directed 1960 Oscar-winning film The Apartment, which became a 1968 musical, Promises, Promises.

The musical was crafted by one of America's favorite and most prolific playwrights, Neil Simon and boasted a musical score by Burt Bacharach, the songwriter whose music all but identifies the 1960s.

Like the film, Promises, Promises traces the rise of mild-mannered young accountant C. C. "Chuck" Baxter, who moves up the corporate ladder by lending his well-located midtown Manhattan apartment to middle-aged executives for round-the-clock trysts with young office assistants.

Baxter lends his apartment key to these philanderers, who in turn award him a key to the executive washroom and to more prestigious office space.

Baxter is infatuated with the lovely Fran Kubelik, the company's charming elevator operator, whom he later finds is involved with his boss.

Eventually, Baxter decides that Kubelik's well-being and his self-respect are worth more than achieving success in a company headed by morally bankrupt bosses.

At a recent rehearsal, Annapolis Summer Garden director Bob Rude said, "Promises, Promises is much brighter than the movie The Apartment. I'm pleased with how well the show is coming together.

" We have a great cast of excellent actors who are believable in their roles. And although the music is challenging and hard to sing, rehearsals are going well, and the music is sounding great.

"Although he was phenomenally popular and wrote a great many hit tunes and some movie music, this is the only Broadway show that Burt Bacharach ever wrote. The music and Neil Simon's adaptation has lightened the original movie, and now there are lots more laughs."

"We have a great cast, very strong leads with Joe Rose playing C. C. "Chuck" Baxter and Andrea Elward playing Fran Kubelik. Both of them are excellent singers who have no trouble handling the Bacharach music. Joe sings `Promises, Promises,' and he and Andrea sing `I'll Never Fall in Love Again.' The leads have some great support from the rest of the cast."

Eileen Eaton, active for many years with Pasadena Theatre Company, is the show's music director.

Judging by what I heard at the rehearsal, it seems Eaton has made light work of any tricky rhythms lurking in the Bacharach score.

Promises, Promises opens tomorrow and continues Thursdays through Sundays at 8:30 p.m. through Aug. 31. Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for students and senior citizens.

Reservations: box office, 410-268-9212.

September show

ASGT has just added a show to its schedule. Rock Around the Dock - Take Two, featuring well-known musician Tim King and the talented brothers, Joe and John Rose, opens Sept. 6 and closes Sept. 22.

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