I can’t believe Halloween is over and thanksgiving is around the corner. Not only do I love Thanksgiving because I am a complete foodie…Turkeys don’t work in my house, its usually a small Turkey with other foods that are not traditional like a Mediterranean stuffed chicken breast with friend sweet potatoe and butternut squash chips with a marshmallow dip instead of yams with marshmallows, or lobsters and crab stuffed Cajun mini red potatoes. Thanksgiving takes a weird turn with the traditional food in my house but at the same time we do have a few regular traditions like we all get together and talk about what we are thankful for and being happy that we all have each other.
The reality is that thanksgiving is about being with your friends and family or the people you love. It is about enjoying the evening with them and if you like to eat then stuffing yourself full of food so you can freak out when it is spring time and you’ve put on a ton of winter weight. When thinking about what song matches Thanksgiving for me and how thanksgiving is kind of off beat since I don’t do the normal foods I wanted to take a song about Turkey but not about Turkey and that can be about Thanksgiving but doesn’t actually show up in the show with Thanksgiving and the perfect song for this has to be Burt Bacharach’s Turkey Lurkey Time from Promises Promises. (Ok, technically it is all about Christmas but I’m going to ignore that lol).
Promises Promises which is currently starring Kristin Chenoweth and Sean Hayes ended up surprising me when I went to see it in NYC this past summer. Not only did I fall in love with the music like the song Turkey Lurkey time from Promises Promises but it was a million times better than the movie live. The choreography was different and twenty million times better, the songs are still cheesey but also are more enjoyable and the dancing combined with songs like Turkey Lurkey Time and seeing it performed live made it like an entirely different show. Turkey Lurkey Time from Promises Promises is an awesome song and even though they sing it at the company’s Christmas Party Turkey Lurkey Time from Promises Promises can easily be a Thanksgiving showtune as well.
So I was watching a video clip on gay bullying last night and it actually got me to start to cry. Not only has there been a huge uprising in gay bullying, but there are people out there making it seem like gay bullying and gay teen suicide which is also on a huge rise is a good thing. They are saying toughen up and that mainstream media shouldn’t be making a big deal out of it which is something that I 100% disagree with. I was reading this article on gay teen bullying and gay teen suicide and thought that it is something that is not only worth mentioning but also including in a post here on BroadwayReviewed.com. It also got me to remember one of my favorite showtunes, Louder Than Words from Tick Tick Boom.
Broadway is the home to many gay people and a ton of talented young men and women who aspire to share their talents with the world. They can sing, write, dance, act, play a character and take audiences to another time or even another world and to lose even one straight or gay person to bullying is absolutely unacceptable. Think of all the talented people we lose every year to diseases like Breast Cancer, AIDS, Drugs and everything else. For someone who could grow up to entertain millions of people, who could be the person who cures any of the diseases above or even someone who can make one person smile when they are down to take their own life because they were being bullied for being gay.
There was this absolutely horrible person I got into a fight on facebook with because in my opinion he was supporting gay teen bullying and justifying gay teen suicide and saying that people shouldn’t be making a big deal about it because they want to push their beliefs on others, I almost lost it. Instead I said that I’ll be watching him from heaven, and yes Cher will be there when he goes to hell because in reality Christianity is about loving one another and not spreading hate and hurting others. Anyways, that whole back and forth fight made me remember a song from the Broadway Musical Tick Tick Boom by Jonathan Larson.
Louder Than Words from Tick Tick Boom is not only an amazing song but I think it is the perfect song for people who have grown up and gone through wanting to commit suicide because of being gay bullied or because they know what these kids are going through. In the article I linked from above, these kids have it much worse than we did when we were in high school trying to make it through the day and the reason I think that Louder Than Words from Tick Tick Boom is the perfect song for these kids is because it makes anyone who grew up and was bullied for being gay would be inspired to help prevent gay teen bullying and help to actually make a difference. The post goes through some things that you can do and what I like most about it is that it actually brings out a good point, this is one cause where one person can actually make a difference. Louder Than Words from Tick Tick Boom is not only an amazing song but it is also inspirational. I highly encourage you to listen to it and play it for other people and then find a way to help your community develop a safe haven or a safety program not only for gay teen youth, but to help stop bullying for all teens and kids in school.
Bullying isn’t just calling people names anymore. It is posting pictures and videos of them on the internet that can last forever and it is about harassing them 24 hours a day instead of just during school hours. Gay teen bullying and gay teen suicide from gay teen bullying needs to stop and people need to start taking action to help prevent it. Below is Louder Than Words from Tick Tick Boom as well as the video that actually got me to cry and also a great clip of Martin Sheen ripping the Christianity argument to shreds. The article I linked to has the Ellen Video, the Fox news video and I highly recommend the Tim Gunn one as well. Being gay is not a sin and there is so much more to life than the assholes you may have to deal with when you are younger. Life gets better and you have to tough it through it. Being bullied is not fun and eventually you will be able to get away from it. If you are a gay teen, trust me, life gets better. You don’t have to stay in your town for your entire life and you will meet thousands of people just like you. You will have rights and the bullying will end. Tough it out and remember that life does get better.
So I completely had a Chenogasm the other night in NYC and if any of you have gone to see Sean Hayes and Kristin Chenoweth in person at the Broadway theatre for Promises Promises, you probably had a Chenomoment as well. So what is Promises Promises, why did it cause such a stir, who is it good for and is Promises Promises on broadway worth going to see? Well lets go through the show starting with the Actors, then the drama, then the story and finally the review and some of the songs.
So Promises Promises is a revival show, a show pulled out of Broadway Archives and history and brought back to the stage usually the same way it was run before, that was based on a book called The Apartment and whose music was written by the famous Burt Bacharach. Since the show is a revival and probably cannot feature the original cast members, since it is a higher energy show with difficult dancing, they had to dig deep and pull out some new Broadway Stars that can pull a crowd. With that in mind they came up with two of the best Broadway, TV and Movie Actors available, Kristin Chenoweth and Sean Hayes.
Not only are both Actors more than qualified to play the roles but both of them support each other like there is no tomorrow, but we’ll get into that in a minute.
Kristin Chenoweth is the leading lady in Promises Promises. Kristin has played a million roles and her most famous recent broadway appearance was developing the character Galinda in Broadway’s Wicked across from Idina Menzel. Although rumor has it that her and Idina no longer speak, Kristin and Idina both continue to work the stage and the screen together on TV’s hit show Glee. Prior to Glee and Wicked Kristin has been on and made cameos in a ton of different shows on both Broadway and TV including You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, Pushing up Daisies, The West Wing, The Pink Panther, Rinning with Scissors, Bewitched, The Music Man, Ugly Betty, Strike up the Band, The Fantastiks, Steel Pier and will be appearing in the new Disney movie You Again. Kristin is a tiny girl with a huge voice and an even bigger stage presence but what is most admirable about Kristin Chenoweth is her heart. She not only loves what she does but she loves the people who she works with and the people who support her, like leading Actor Sean Hayes.
Sean Hayes is probably best known for his character on the hit TV show Will and Grace where he played a flamboyant gay man named Jack McFarland. Sean has been on many TV shows and made a ton of appearances in Pieces of April, Win a Date With Tad Hamilton, Cats & Dogs, Martin and Lewis and then made a stage debut with Damn Yankees at the City Center stage. Now Sean Hayes has finally the crossed the line from TV Actor to Broadway Actor with is debut in the revival show of Promises Promises as the leading man which is what started all of the drama.
The Drama about Promises Promises, Sean Hayes and Kristin Chenoweth.
So when the show launched they did the normal invite the press in to watch. Promises Promises reviews were all over the
Kristin Chenoweth Newsweek Sucks!
board. Some broadway fans gave Promises Promises great reviews while others trashed it for being cheesy while they loved the acting and dancing and the media did their normal bash what you can and rave about what you can if you love the Actors, Overall the reviews were all over the place with the exception of Newsweeks article which caused a stir.
Newsweek had a writer post an Article about Sean Hayes. The thing is that most of us remember him as Jack McFarland and because he is somewhat typcasted as Just Jack when he is on a stage this author made a comment along the lines of Gay Men Cannot Play Straight Men on Stage or Ladies Men. The thing is that I think he may have meant that someone who is slightly flamboyant or geeky with their acting they may not have been able to portray a Frank Sinatra or a Flaming Male Womanizer like James Bond. The problem is that what he wrote was more offensive than it was true or written properly.
As a writer and a journalist he should have been able to more clearly write this thought out because although some of us agreed that we remembered Sean’s character Jack McFarland so it was hard to see him as a straight man on stage, he still did an amazing job and that there are tons of gay men who play straight men and no one knows the difference. You also have the exact reverse a few blocks over in La Cage Au Follies where you have a straight man (I think he’s straight) Kelsey Grammar playing a gay man in the show. To me Sean Hayes character could have definitely been a straight man.
If Sean had never played Jack or done Just Jack then you probably would have thought of him as a Mathew Broderick in the Producers or Ferris Buller’s Day Off or any other geeky sort of cool person who is also straight. It was not hard to believe that Sean played a geeky straight guy because guess what, that is what his character was all about. For Newsweek to publish what they did it was not only offensive but it was also wrong. As a writer the journalist should have been able to write more clearly and as an Actor Kristin Chenoweth did what she does best, work the issue to make it right.
Although Kristin is a small girl in size, her voice and her love is huge. Not only did she make a huge publicity stink over the Newsweek article, but she was able to rip him a new one across a ton of media channels and on numerous blogs and websites. She not only further showed her support for the Gay Community because the way that she must have read and that I read the article was that it was a blast to the gay community but she also showed her love and support of her leading Co-Star Sean Hayes by defending him and also bringing in other prominent gay Actors like Neil Patrick Harris and Jonathan Groff. Kristin not only got the exposure that she wanted but she also got Newsweek to react quickly and everyone from Fox News to local media stations agreed that Newsweek was out of line and needs to make an apology not only to the gay community but to Sean Hayes. The pink elephant in the room and the comment about macho swagger was absolutely inappropriate and Newsweek should have prescreened the article first. So what was all the drama about and was the show worth it, yes, yes yes!
Promises Promises Reviewed.
Promises Promises is the story of a nerdy, geeky lower level person who wants to not only get to become successful in business and life, but also get the girl of his dreams who also works with him. Chuck Baxter dreams of getting to eat in the Executive Lunchroom, use Executive Bathrooms and get to shop at expensive stores and drink expensive liquors. Besides being successful in business and in life, he also wants to be successful in love.
Kristin Chenoweth and Sean Hayes Promises Promises
Fran Kubelik is an assistant who ends up being transferred to the Executive Lunch room so that the Executive who is having an Affair with her can see her more. But before we get into that lets go back to Chuck Baxter.
The only thing that Chuck seems to never want to upgrade in his life is his apartment. In fact his apartment ends up being the key to success in his entire life. Although it is nothing special and isn’t in the most amazing neighborhood, it is his and his alone; until he meets a few corporate executives who need somewhere to take their friends who are sick, hot or just plain horny. The whole show starts with one Executive after another needing somewhere to take their mistresses to hookup and cheat on their wives. One night the first Executive stumbles into Chuck Baxter in a bar and remembers that he is single and has his own place. After a few more weeks and a few broken promises, Chuck has realized that they are just using him so he realizes that if he actually has the power to keep their Affairs not only secret but also alive, he may also have the power to force them into promoting him.
After a long night out in the snow while an Executive is having an affair in his apartment he pulls back the use of his apartment. The cheating Executives immediately send him to HR for a promotion but when he gets their he finds out that the head of HR is also having an affair with another woman. Happy to get the use of Chuck’s apartment he quickly promotes Chuck to the lowest level Executive position on the corporate ladder and in return the HR guy gets to use his apartment.
Chuck is delighted because not only is he now an Executive but he also gets to eat in the Executive lunchroom everyday and see his true love Fran. If we move through the story Chuck finally gets a date with Fran but Fran ends up standing him up. After a few close calls with actually getting to spend time together on a date, Chuck ends up finding out that not only was Fran dating someone else, but it turns out she is dating the HR guy and having sex in his apartment. After realizing this at the company Christmas party he instantly falls into a depression and goes to a bar to get trashed.
The bar scene with Chuck getting drunk and meeting this ridiculous owl woman is probably one of the funniest but what
happens next is where the story really starts to turn. Chuck gets to bring the owl woman home, you are seriously going to love her, but when he gets there he find Fran in his bed in a slip and overdosing on sleeping pills. Chuck immediately throws owl lady out and gets his next door neighbor who is also a doctor. After helping bring Fran back to life the two of them bond of guitar and a Canadian Fruit Cake made by Chuck’s ex girlfriend. In the end Chuck does get the girl but the story behind how is absolutely hilarious and cheesy.
The songs from Promises Promises.
Promises Promises features the music of Burt Bacharach. He not only wrote the music but he made it so the Actors could easily work the music and make it their own. Although some of the songs only a Broadway fan would recognize, other songs in Promises Promises are easily recognized by Burt Bacharach fans everywhere. Thanks to the hit TV show Glee with Kristin Chenoweth you may also recognize the song House is not a Home which she performs in the show with Mr. Scheuster and in the show with Sean Hayes. I personally liked the music and caught myself starting to sing along. Some of the songs are kind of stupid and cheezy like Turkey Lurkey Christmas but what do you expect.
With amazing dancing, voices like Kristin Chenoweth and a fun story line with an owl lady, I actually loved this show, even though I walked in thinking I would hate it. Everyone next to me also thought they would hate the show and walked in only wanting to see it for Sean Hayes and Kristin Chenoweth but when the show was over we all agreed that it was an amazing show which we all enjoyed. I highly recommend Promises Promises to anyone and everyone and give it 4 out of 5 stars because of the amazing dancing, the fun music and the amazing acting and voices of Kristin Chenoweth and the performance of Sean Hayes. Although it isn’t a good show for people under 14 or 15, it is perfect for everyone else. If you are looking for a show to go to in New York City and Kristin Chenoweth and Sean Hayes are still starring in Promises Promises then this is a must see show that you will absolutely love. Promises Promises gets 4 out of 5 stars. I completely had a Chenogasm for the show and I am pretty sure everyone else in it had a Chenomoment. If you loved Promises Promises as much as I did, feel free to leave a message below or click the green tweet or retweet button at the top of this post to share it with your friends on twitter.
I don’t think I need to say much about this video except that it is absolutely the perfect mesh of classic rock and roll mixed with one of the most famous Stephan Shwartz songs from one of his latest musicals Wicked. So what happens when Rock N Roll meets broadway?
Most of the time it forms a show like the Billy Joel Musical Movin on Out or Rock of Ages or the Queen Musical. So what happens when broadway meets Rock N Roll, normally you get shows like Glee who cover songs from Rock N Roll stars like Madonna or Journey and everyonce in a while you get a broadway song that takes on a rock band and creates an instant hit.
The Wicked Rock N Roll version of Defying Gravity is above and beyond amazing. Kerry Ellis does an amazing job as Elphaba and can make her voice not only go from Broadway but also have a Rock N Roll attitude. The remix with the guitars and the drums is also incredible. Then again how could you go wrong with a lead guitarist as famous and fabulous as well he doesn’t need an introduction if you love Rock N Roll and know your bands. Anyways, I heard this version of Defying Gravity last night at EFN Lounge Showtunes Night and had to share it with you all. Here is the Rock N Roll version of Defying Gravity. Please feel free to leave a comment below if you like the video or to click the little green retweet or tweet button in the top right corner to share this video and post with all of your friends on twitter.
One of the shows that I think really ended up making me fall in love with Broadway and always be a permanent fan has got to be a classic Stephen Sondheim show, Into the Woods. Into the woods is a story about life lessons, greed, envy, happiness, love, sharing, adultery and pretty much everything else the Church warns you about and adds in some music and dancing. There is murder and plotting and even love and shopping and while you’re watching the mass chaos of a show with a million twists and turns, you’re also watching it from the perspective of your favorite childhood characters acting it out from their own perspectives.
Into the woods is actually the story of storybook characters coming to life and how they interact with each other. You have Cinderella and her ugly stepsisters. You have Red Riding Hood and an anatomically correct Big Bad Wolf. A Rapunzel who is locked in a tower by a Wicked Witch. Jack who climbs a bean stock and disobeys his mother. You have kings and princes, you have mentions of Snow White and you have the Baker and his Wife and many more of your favorite storybook characters. The thing that you have to remember is that the actual storybook stories aren’t always the way that Disney likes to make you think they happened.
Disney is about making everything have a happy ending and removing all of the gore and bad parts of stories. Into the Woods on Broadway actually kept the original story lines and even though I love the Disney version I have to say that the original stories are much better. You have the stepsisters cutting off their feet to fit into glass slippers and you have Cinderella talking to a tree which represents her Mother instead of a Fairy Godmother (which Whitney Houston did an amazing job performing in the Movie version of Cinderella starring Brandy). You have all of the characters living their lives the way the stories were originally told and then slowly each of them find one way or another to interact with each other and eventually everyone ends up in one big fairy tale with all of their paths crossed and you finally get to see who the hero’s are and who is really a coward. I love that the Witch turns out to be the smart one, not necessarily the “nice” one but the practical one. You have the people who want to do only good but never really address that while saving one or two lives they still murder someone else. I hate that the show doesn’t ever bring that part up but then again it would end up being an extra half hour if they had to. I almost feel bad for the female Giant who ends up getting slaughtered because of decision of the Hero’s to protect themselves and the two kids they end up taking on as their own. The Witch in Into the Woods is who sold me on the show originally.
I was in my car and heard a rap about vegetables on a mixtape and thought it was the coolest thing. I still have no idea where it came from. When I asked everyone I knew who sang it it turned out to be none other than the fabulous Bernadette Peters playing the title role of the Witch. Not only did I become a fan of the show but I also became a fan of Bernadette Peters and quickly went to go find other shows she had been in. The thing is that even though you may fall in love with a cast or a certain voice playing a part, if it was before YouTube.com or they never recorded that cast then the talent and show is lost forever to the people who were not able to get to see the show in person. Luckily when it came to Into the Woods, the cast that starred Bernadette Peters was recorded and released on video so I not only got to see her perform the character of the Wicked Witch but I also got to watch it over and over again.
The songs from Into the Woods have been made famous not only because of the fact that they were in a Stephen Sondheim show and performed by Bernadette Peters, but other famous singers and Broadway Stars like Barbra Streisand have picked up the songs and made their own twists on them. The soundtrack to Into the Woods is one of the most beautiful soundtracks if you like classic musical theatre. They don’t have the ballads or ensemble of Andrew Lloyd Weber or the fun and exciting styles of Rent or Rock Operas but what they do have is the timeless and classic Stephen Sondheim touch and spirit that every broadway fan loves.
Into the Woods is an amazing show and perfect for almost all ages. The show would be boring and probably not one parents would want little kids to see but if you have teenagers and older kids and want a fun night out at the theatre, you cannot go wrong with Into the Woods if you want to watch your favorite childhood fairy tales come to life and all of them get mixed together. I give Into the Woods 3 out of 5 stars.