Brodie’s Broadway Bests: Promises, Promises
Ah, Promises, Promises, the play so nice, they named it twice! The crème de la crème of my 2010 Broadway binge, all other shows were a distant second compared to my excitement at the thought of seeing Kristin Chenoweth live, on the Broadway stage, singing to the rafters. As a HUGE Pushing Daisies enthusiast and Wicked cast album devotee long before Glee got going, she is my Liza, my Barbra, my icon.
So you can imagine my heartbreak when the tiny Ms. Chenoweth was taken ill and out of the show prior to my Broadway binge! There were tears, I won’t lie. Did the show go on without her? Would my dream of seeing Olive Snook/Glinda sing live on stage ever come true? Read all about my unexpected experiences with Promises after the break.
The note in the program spelled out my doom: The Part of Fran Kubelik will be played tonight by… Not Kristin Chenoweth! I considered leaving, but Sean Hayes was still in it, and I didn’t want to miss my chance to see him singing as a lead and find out if he was more than “Just Jack.”
Happily, Hayes’ performance is masterful. Warm, winning, and wonderfully sung, Hayes’ C.C. Baxter is innocent and charming, with all the eccentric energy and hyper hoot’s of Jack, but without a trace of a Will & Grace ghost in the room. (And note to Newsweek: even with an understudy, his sexual chemistry crackles.)
The best (not so) secret weapon in Promises isn’t the marquee superstars or the infectious Burt Bacharach tunes. Nor is it the delicious retro costumes or deft set design. It’s Katie frickin’ Finneran, people. Her two-scene sensation is so incredibly rich, I couldn’t stop screaming with glee at every line she sang or said as the boozy floozy, Marge MacDougall. She’s sweeping the critics’ awards with DAMN good reason. Every moment she’s on stage is an ecstatic delight, and you will crave her cooing long after she’s gone.
I liked it SO much, I decided to shell out for orchestra tickets and see it a second time before I headed home to the West coast. And wouldn’t you know it, my little gay dream came true that night when the curtains rose and the divine Kristin Chenoweth was back on stage where she belongs, blowing my mind with that voice, that giggly gorgeous glow and a face that was built for Broadway. She can emote circles around your average actress.
It’s been over a week and I STILL have “I'll Never Fall in Love Again” stuck in my head 24-7!
Now you do, too. (Note: the cast album comes out June 22.)
Hayes is hosting The Tony Awards, Sunday, June 13 at 8:00 PM on CBS and Chenoweth is scheduled to appear. Hayes and Finneran are nominated for their performances.
Check back for more of Brodie’s Broadway Bests all week, including La Cage Aux Folles starring Kelsey Grammer and A Little Night Music with Angela Lansbury and Catherine Zeta-Jones.