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Promises, Promises

Cover to OBCR

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

Shubert Theater, New York - 1 December, 1968 (1281 perfs)
Prince of Wales Theatre, London - 2 October, 1969 - (560 perfs)


Except for minor deviations, the story line in this musical follows closely the one in the movie.

Chuck is young, ambitious, likeable, charming and a bachelor who works for the Consolidated Life Insurance Company whose chief executives use his apartment for extra curricular amatory pursuits. Mr Dobitch - Mortgages and Loans Dept - borrows Chuck's keys, and apartment against the promise of rapid promotion within the company. But it is not only Mr Dobitch who borrows the apartment: one executive after another also borrow it - and all with the same promise of advancement within the company.

Fran Kubelik, a waitress in the company restaurant and a girl whom Chuck has admired from a distance has an assignation with J.D. Sheldrake, personnel director. Fran is dumped by Sheldrake and she tries to commit suicide in Chuck's bedroom. A Jewish doctor, Dr. Dreyfuss saves her life but suspects that Chuck was the cause of the suicide attempt. Meanwhile, Miss Olsen, Sheldrake's former mistress, decides to acquaint his wife about his affairs, when Sheldrake tries to resume his affair with Fran. But, when he meets Chuck to sort things out regarding the use of the apartment he is given the keys, not to the apartment but to the executive bathroom.

Chuck believes he has better things to do than work at Consolidated Life Insurance Company - playing cards at New Year with Fran for instance!


25 parts, 9 principals, plus 3 featured female dancers and 4 female voices in orchestra pit.

Principal Characters:

Chuck Baxter - An office worker (a warm, friendly comic actor with strong singing voice).
Fran Kubelik - a restaurant waitress (winning smile, cute rather than glamorous, powerful broad range singing voice, good diction.)
J.D. Sheldrake - a personnel manager (the heavy, good actor who sings.)
Dr. Dreyfuss - a neighbour (exceptional character comic, sings 1 number with Chuck.)
Marge MacDougall - A bar acquaintance (good character woman, minor singing.)
Dobitch, Kirkeby, Eichelberger, and Vanderhof, light character men who sing in quartet.
Vivien, Miss Polansky, and Miss Wong, featured dancers who sing "Turkey Lurkey Time."

Total cast 36-46.


Manhattan, 1962


  1. Half As Big As Life - Chuck
  2. Grapes of Roth - Chuck, Bar Patrons
  3. Upstairs - Chuck
  4. You'll Think of Someone - Fran, Chuck
  5. Our Little Secret - Chuck, Sheldrake
  6. I Say a Little Prayer - Fran, Girls
  7. She Likes Basketball - Chuck
  8. Knowing When to Leave - Fran
  9. Where Can You Take a Girl? - Dobitch, Kirkeby, Eichelberger, Vanderhof
  10. Wanting Things - Sheldrake
  11. Turkey Lurkey Time - Miss Polansky, Miss Wong, Miss Della Hoya and the Employees of Consolidated Life
  12. A House Is Not a Home - Fran
  13. A Fact Can Be a Beautiful Thing - Chuck, Marge, Bar Patrons
  14. Whoever You Are - Fran
  15. Christmas Day - Sheldrake, Mrs. Sheldrake, Party Guests
  16. A House Is Not a Home - (Reprise) Chuck
  17. A Young Pretty Girl Like You - Chuck, Dr. Dreyfuss
  18. I'll Never Fall in Love Again - Fran, Chuck
  19. Promises, Promises - Chuck
  20. I'll Never Fall in Love Again - (Reprise) Fran, Chuck


Violin 1 & 2; Cello; Bass; Fender Bass: Reed 1,2,3 & 4: Horn: Trumpet 1, 2 & 3: Trombone 1 & 2: Percussion 1 & 2: Guitar 1 & 2: Piano: Electric Piano

Scenes and Sets:

2 acts, 14 scenes, 4 full stage sets, 4 partial sets (one has pivoting signs that change from Consolidated Life Office to Madison Square Garden identification), 3 major glass and steel fly-ins.


Scene 1: Offices of Consolidated Life. Second Avenue Bar.
Scene 2: Chuck's Apartment House.
Scene 3: Medical Office.
Scene 4: Mr. Sheldrake's Office.
Scene 5: Lobby.
Scene 6: Lum Ding's Restaurant and Madison Square Garden.
Scene 7: Lobby, Executive Dining Room. Executive Sun Deck.
Scene 8: At the Elevator.
Scene 9: 19th Floor Christmas Party.


Scene 1: Clancy's Lounge.
Scene 2: Chuck's Apartment.
Scene 3: Offices of Consolidated Life.
Scene 4: Lum Ding's Restaurant and Street.
Scene 5: Chuck's Apartment.

Period and Costumes:

The present: latest in office clothes, expensive-looking suits for executives, mini dresses, coats, evening wear, casual shirts and slacks, overcoats, hats, caps, etc., derby, owlfeathered coat, and uniforms for bartender, nurses, doctor, nightclub hostess, waiter, and laborer.


Modern and featured female dance trio.

Lighting and Special Effects:

Dramatic and area lighting required for numerous crossfades and lighting of partial sets.