The Southampton Cultural Center’s Center Stage musical production of Promises, Promises is everything that’s wonderful about musical theatre in the Hamptons. Darren Ottati, who portrays Chuck Baxter, is outstanding, and makes this production a must see. He energizes the show with a certain endearing quality, like the “scarecrow” does in the epic classic movie, The Wizard of Oz! He is able to create intimacy with the audience and by the end of the show; “Chuck Baxter” is your new best friend. His singing voice is clear, strong, pleasant and with great range.
Shannon DuPuis’s sweet voice reaches deep into your soul as she sings from her heart and reaches every single person in the audience. As Fran Kubelik, Shannon DuPuis delivers the shivers, the tears, and the vulnerability along with the focus a leading lady must project in a successful production.
Director Michael Disher, whose body of work in the Hamptons is impeccable with a consistent excellence of polish, professionalism and enjoyable theater, has once again delivered another wonderful production in Promises, Promises. Disher over the years has established himself as a cultural icon on the East End by guiding the talents of so many and forging them into capable performing actors. Promises, Promises‘ musical direction is by Amanda Jones; stage management is by Carol L. Sjoholm with lighting design by Ben Miller. Sound design is by Dennis Milone and choreography/staging by Disher and DuPuis.
For the basis of legal references the show, Promises, Promises, (book by Neil Simon) is based on the screenplay The Apartment by Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond with music by Bert Bacharach and lyrics by Hal David; it was produced for the Broadway stage by David Merrick.
The nuts and bolts of every live theatrical production is the cast who often play a few roles. They give it their all! Toni-Jo Birk (hostess/second girl) exhibited great energy in movement and voice. Julie Crowley (Sylvia Gilhooley/orchestral voice) was youthful fun and playful. Richard Alder (Mike Kirkeby) beams on stage. Bethany Dellapolla (Barbara, Ginger, orchestral voice) is always dynamic in her dancing, singing and movements. Dane DuPuis scared me as a menacing Karl Kubelik and Sheila Engh (first girl/orchestral voice) is brilliant. Kudos to Brianna Kinnier (Vivien/orchestral voice) for her smile, movements and singing. Geoffrey Milton’s portrayal as the Doctor had great dignity. Tom Rosante sparkled as Jesse Vandehof and then in his waiter role. It is always an honor to applaud the strong performance and efforts of Jack Seabury (J.D. Sheldrake/Eichelberger). Lon Erving Shomer is SNL quality comedic as Dr. Dreyfuss. Christina Stankewicz dazzles the audience as (Nurse Kreplinski/orchestral voice), as does Josephine Wallace portraying Miss Olson and an orchestral voice. Last, but not least, the lovely Edna Perez Winston steals a whole scene with her amusing show stopping Marge McDougall and also showed off a beaming talent as an orchestral voice.
Promises, Promises will be playing at the Southampton Cultural Center until Sunday, March 26th with shows Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m.
General admission is $28 and tickets for students under 21 with an ID are $15.
Southampton Cultural Center is located at 25 Pond Lane in Southampton. For more information, call 631-287-4377 or visit www.scc-arts.org.