Promises, Promises Apr. 2010

ny broadway

It’s all about Sean Hayes. (Remember “Jack” from Will&Grace? Who was more funny than everybody else and playing an actor with not an ounce of talent? Who had “Just Jack” as tagline and a signature hand gesture?) Well, turns out live on stage Sean Hayes is amazingly talented as an actor. He carries the whole – rather weak – story of a guy who loves a girl who loves her boss till he leaves her. A suicide attempt ensues. And all that revolves around an apartment that gets “sublet” on an hourly basis to various men in charge.

Find the plot familiar? It has been made into a movie 1960 – aptly called The Apartment with Jack Lemmon and a very young Shirley MacLaine by Billy Wilder. And that’s also one of the bigger weaknesses of this new Broadway-adaption of the play. It is … old. It’s not only the pretty dresses (the costumes are actually very accurate and beautiful) that smell like the fifties. It’s also the music by Burt Bacharach that’s a bit dusty. I mean “I’ll never fall in love again…” – we haven’t heard that song anywhere else but in an oldies-station for very long. And the choreography – men rolling on the floor, jumping over each other – would have been brilliant – in the sixties…

That said, the play itself is funny whenever Sean Hayes is on stage – which is basically all the time. He and Kristin Chenoweth have a nice chemistry going and voices that match nicely. The audience, mostly elderly people and women’s knitting groups, lapped it up eagerly and enjoyed it immensly. I found it nice and was glad it was on in the afternoon and not in the evening.

I also waited at the stage door for the actors to appear and they did – Sean Hayes actually very professional and very much like his alter ego Jack. I felt a bit sorry for him because a lot of people wanted him to do his best Just Jack impression. And Will&Grace has been cancelled for five years now. Poor guy, people should recognize him for the stage actor he is.

So: a rather well spent afternoon, but nothing worth watching twice. Hope Sean gets a chance on a better show soon. He’d really deserve it.

Addendum: and yes, Promises got Kate Finneran  a Tony; and Sean Hayes hosted the whole thing and obviously was a hoot, ready to play in one league with Neil Patrick Harris, host of the Oscars! Wish I’d been there!

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