BY MARY KAY SWEIKAR
Neil Simon’s “Promises, Promises,” presented by Danville Light Opera, is heading to town for its Danville premier this weekend.
Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Danville Area Community College Bremer Theater. Doors will open 30 minutes prior to the show.
“Promises, Promises” — based on the Oscar-winning film “The Apartment” — is Simon’s sparkling take on love and lust in the 1960s, with a vibrant score from Burt Bacharach.
Director Chelsea Zych calls the show smart, sexy and witty, adding, “It will make people laugh.”
This will be the first time that Zych has directed a DLO production. She has much local acting experience, however, and also directed “On Golden Pond” for the Red Mask Players.
Zych became interested in this musical during its 2010 Broadway revival. “I enjoy anything written by Neil Simon,” she said. “It’s a really fun show to perform.”
Zych has a master’s degree in Shakespeare and Renaissance plays, with an emphasis on acting, from Mary Baldwin College in Virginia.
She lives in Savoy with her husband, David Zych, who is music director for the show. Zych refers to her husband and the choreographer Jesse Pierce, who recently moved back from Chicago, as her “dream team” for this production.
“I have also been blessed with a wonderful and enthusiastic cast,” she said.
Cast members include Bryan Jenkins as Chuck Baxter, Bailey Williams as Fran Kubelik, Rick Welchans as J.D. Sheldrake, Jeff Romig as Dr. Dreyfuss, Lisa Richter as Marge MacDougall, and Terra Ogle as Miss Olson.
Other cast members are Aaron Martin as Mr. Dobitch; Zayne McCorkle as Mr. Kirkeby; Bryan Schroeder as Mr. Eichelberger; Allison Willard as Sylvia; Aubrey Falconio as Ginger; Shannon Bireline Schroeder as Vivien; Mimi Myers-Saylor as the office nurse, Mrs. Sheldrake as the hostess; David Techtow as the office doctor, waiter and watchman; and Will Schott as Mr. Vanderhof.
Orchestra voices are Allison Freel, Nancy Henderson, Marty Lindvahl and Suzy Smalley.
Bryan Jenkins, a student at DACC, is delighted to be playing the leading male role of Chuck Baxter. He’s taken leads in many productions before, but said this is his largest.
“I’ve been preparing to try out for this show since last spring,” he said, “and I want to thank our director, Chelsea, for putting her trust in me by giving me this part. Chelsea and her team are simply amazing.
“This is a hilarious show with some adult scenes, but for the most part, it’s family friendly,” Jenkins added.
Danville High School sophomore Bailey Williams, the youngest member of the cast, plays the lead female role of Fran Kubelik. Williams began acting in fourth grade, and she hopes to graduate from DHS a semester early to study acting at Columbia College in Chicago.
Williams first saw the movie “The Apartment” with her dad, Greg Williams, also a local actor, and they both loved it. “I find it very funny, and the music is beautiful,” she said.
Bailey’s mother, Marsha Williams, is the show’s costume director, along with Nancy Henderson.
The plot of “Promises, Promises” goes like this: Chuck Baxter’s life is passing him by, until a chance meeting in a bar thrusts him into the middle of the sexual revolution. The top executives at his company need a secluded spot to take their mistresses, and Chuck’s bachelor pad is just the ticket.
Before long, Chuck is climbing the corporate ladder, enjoying the perks that come with promotion and even working up the courage to ask his lovely co-worker, Fran, out on a date.
But things get complicated when the head of personnel demands exclusive use of the apartment. Chuck is willing to stand up to the other executives, but a stunning revelation the night of the office Christmas party leaves him wondering what he really wants out of life, and what he’s willing to sacrifice to get it.
The DLO production of “Promises, Promises” is sponsored by Toyota of Danville/Scion.
Tickets cost $19 for adults and $14 for students, and may be purchased by calling the DLO box office at 431-1660. Tickets also may be purchased in person at the box office in the Village Mall east wing, from 6-8 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday. Tickets also are available at First Savings Bank, 6 W. Williams St., during regular business hours.
For more information about DLO, visit its website at http://www.danvillelightopera.com.