A boozy office Christmas party is the impetus for the Burt Bacharach/Hal David chestnut "Turkey Lurkey Time" from the hit 1968 musical comedy PROMISES, PROMISES, featuring some of the most breathtaking choreography in theatre history, crafted by a young Michael Bennett. Posited as a humorous number ostensibly created by three secretaries to celebrate the holiday season for the entertainment of the employees at a New York City insurance company, the propulsive and energetic showstopper begins as a silly nonsense song before exploding into a spectacular production number featuring the entire company extolling the virtues of the holiday season.
Highlighting the choreographic talents of frequent Bennett collaborators Margo Sappington, Baayork Lee and Donna McKechnie, the deceptively complex dancing is masterfully performed by the trio before involving the entire company in a resplendently rousing barn-burner as it builds and builds. Truly, it must be seen to be believed.
PROMISES, PROMISES is based on Neil Simon's hit comedy THE APARTMENT, with a plot that would most likely be an uncomfortable fit for audiences if presented today in the woke #metoo era, centering on an apartment used for businessmen to engage in trysts with their girlfriends and mistresses. Nevertheless, the 2010 revival led by Sean Hayes and Kristin Chenoweth played nearly 300 performances and earned Katie Finneran a Tony Award for her memorable turn in the tuner. A staple of community theaters and featured in the adored theatre-themed musical movie CAMP, it would be appropriate to wager that its popularity may wane in the modern age.
Witness one of the most exhilarating Tony Awards showstoppers in history in this delightful performance of "Turkey Lurkey Time" on the 1969 Tony Awards. Happy Thanksgiving!