Musical Moments: Promises, PromisesIn honor of Christmas I'm posting the "Turkey Lurkey Time" number from Promises, Promises. The show opened just before Christmas in 1968 with the star studded creative team of book writer Neil Simon, songwriting team Burt Bacharach and Hal David, director/choreographer Michael Bennett, producer David Merrick and even featured Broadway royalty Jerry Orbach and Donna McKechnie. Despite all of this star-power, Promises, Promises is but a lackluster star in the musical theatre firmament. Still, it has some moments worth watching again. "Turkey Lurkey Time" is one of them.
Now, don't get me wrong--the song is awful. It makes no sense and it's easy to see why it never became a Christmas standard, say, the way "We Need a Little Christmas" from Mame did. Besides the schizophrenic melody, try to decipher the lyrics and you come up with a rather bizarre Christmas sentiment. Take for example the lyric "It's Lucy Goosey time, her time is running out and we all know when." What??? As in her time is running out on Christmas when we kill her and eat her? Yeah, let's sing and dance about that.
To the modern sensibility the number is high camp. Michael Bennett's choreography is such a relic of the '60s it almost seems like a parody of itself and yet it's brilliant at the same time. The Christmas sentiment Bennett captures here is that of sheer joy and that's what still stands up today. Was there ever a more feel-good number on Broadway? That said, this Christmas I wish you joy with "Turkey Lurkey Time".
I chose this Ed Sullivan clip of replacement cast members because the video quality is better than the one from the 1968 Tony awards. But if you want to watch Donna McKechnie do the number, click here.