Promenade (musical)

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Promenade (Album Cover).jpg
cover of the 1969 original off-Broadway cast album
Music Al Carmines
Lyrics María Irene Fornés
Book María Irene Fornés
Productions 1965 New York City
1969 Off-Broadway
1983 Off-Broadway
Awards OBIE Award for Distinguished Plays[1]

Promenade was an experimental musical comedy with book and lyrics by María Irene Fornés and music by Rev. Al Carmines, originally produced off-Broadway by Edgar Lansbury and Joseph Beruh. In a review in The New York Times for a 1983 New York revival, Stephen Holden linked the production to the Theatre of the Absurd: "This work, which suggests a mixture of Candide and Samuel Beckett viewed through Lewis Carroll's looking glass, is a little too avant-garde and absurdist to appeal to mainstream tastes. But in its odd way it's an exquisite piece of musical theater."

Original production[edit]

Promenade premiered on April 9, 1965 at the Judson Poets' Theatre, Judson Memorial Church, 55 Washington Square, NYC, where it played for three weekends.

It went on to a commercial run off-Broadway at the Promenade Theatre (for which it was named), produced by Edgar Lansbury and Joseph Beruh, opening on June 4, 1969. The cast was led by Madeline Kahn, playing the role of the Servant, also including Shannon Bolin, Ty McConnell, Gilbert Price, Alice Playten, Michael Davis, and Carrie Wilson. When Kahn left Promenade to make her first film What's Up, Doc?, she was replaced by Sandra Schaeffer, an unknown singer from the NYC Opera and understudied by Marie Santell. After Schaeffer, the producers brought in Pamela Hall (who went on to direct the revival of Promenade in 2010). After a successful run, Promenade closed on January 18, 1970 after 259 performances. Subsequently it was produced in Chicago under the direction of June Pyskacek by her theater, the Kingston Mines Theatre Co., where in 1971 the world premiere of "Grease" commenced its long run.

Promenade is listed in the Time Life Decade Books Series as an "anti-Vietnam War statement," perhaps because of the scene towards the end where rich people are dancing in a maypole around the two convicts who are now dressed in bandages as war victims.

Complete original cast:

105 Ty McConnell
(replaced during the run by Kenneth Carr)
106 Gilbert Price
(replaced during the run by Tony Falco)
Jailer Pierre Epstein
Servant Madeline Kahn

(replaced after opening by Sandra Schaeffer
and later by Pamela Hall; understudy Marie Santell)

Miss I Margot Albert
Miss O Carrie Wilson
Miss U Alice Playten
Mr. R Marc Allen III
Mr. S Glenn Kezer
Mr. T Michael Davis
Miss Cake (Rosita) Florence Tarlow
Waiter Edmund Gaynes
Dishwasher Art Ostrin
Mayor George S. Irving
Mother Shannon Bolin
(replaced during the run by Mary Jo Catlett)

Originally, Columbia was interested in recording the cast album as a two-record set, but after a disagreement between the record company and the cast over salaries, Columbia abandoned the project. RCA agreed to record the album, but only as a single LP. By the time the recording was finally made, Kahn was no longer available, having gone on to Hollywood to star in films. And so the role was sung on the album by Sandy Schaeffer. Cast members George S. Irving and Mark Allen III were on vacation, and so their musical numbers were not recorded. Because of the time limitations of a single disc, several production numbers, including "Spring Beauties" and "The Laughing Song," also were not recorded. The recording, such as it is, can be found on CD (RCA Victor 09026 63333 2).

Scenes and Musical Numbers



Promenade Theme—Orchestra

Dig Dig Dig* -- 105 & 106


Unrequited Love—Misses I, O, U, Messrs. R, S, T, Servant, Waiter, 105, 106

Isn't That Clear—Mr. S with Ensemble

Don't Eat It* -- Ensemble

Four (Naked Lady) -- Misses I, O, U, Messrs. R, S, T, Servant, Waiter, 105, 106, Dishwasher

Chicken Is He—Rosita

The Moment Has Passed—Miss O

A Flower—Miss I

Rosita Rodriguez* -- Mayor

Apres Vous* -- 105, 106, Jailor

Bliss* -- Servant, 105, 106, and Ensemble


The Cigarette Song—Servant, 105, 106

Thank You* -- Dishwasher

The Clothes Make The Man—Servant, 105, 106

Two Little Angels—Mother, 105, 106

The Passing of Time—105, 106

Capricious and Fickle (You Cad) -- Miss U

Crown Me—Servant, 105, 106



Mr. Sidney N. Phelps* -- Waiter

Madeline* -- Waiter

Spring Beauties* -- Ensemble

Apres Vous (reprise)* -- Ensemble

A Poor Man (When I Was Born) -- 105, 106

Why Not? (Promenade Theme)* -- Servant, 105, 106, Mother, Dishwasher, Waiter


The Finger Song* -- Mr. R, Ensemble

Little Fool—Mr. T, Ensemble

Chardiz* -- Servant

The Laughing Song* -- Ensemble

A Mother's Love* -- Mother


Listen, I Feel—Servant

I Saw A Man—Mother

All is Well in the City—105, 106, Ensemble

(*Not on the original cast recording)

2010 Concert[edit]

On Monday, April 12, 2010, a semi-staged concert of Promenade was performed Off-Broadway at New York City's New World Stages (Stage 2) as the first of a planned series called Legacy: the Musicals of Off-Broadway. It was produced by Edmund Gaynes and directed by Pamela Hall. Ken Lundie was music director.

2010 Concert Cast:

105 Brian Childers
106 Tim Ewing
Jailer Gene Castle
Servant Julie Cardia
Miss I Victoria Mallory
Miss O Neva Small
Miss U Andrea McArdle
Mr. R Ron Spivak
Mr. S Jim Brochu
Mr. T James Donegan
Miss Cake (Rosita) Virginia Seidel
Waiter Allen E. Read
Dishwasher Joshua Nicholson
Mayor Dale Radunz
Mother Loni Ackerman