By 1968 when Promises, Promises debuted on Broadway, the age of chart-topping radio hits starting out life as showtunes were mostly past. That didn't stop Burt Bacharach and Hal David's "I'll Never Fall in Love Again" reigniting that trajectory. After premiering in Promises, sung by Jill O'Hara and Jerry Orbach, frequent Bacharach-David muse Dionne Warwick covered the song and made it a mainstream success.
Find out more about how the song went from the theatre to airwaves in a piece from the February 12 episode of CBS Sunday Morning above.
Promises, Promises was a stage musical adaptation of Billy Wilder's 1961 film The Apartment, centering on a young executive who lends out his apartment to his superiors for their extramarital affairs. The work was refreshingly modern, adult, and edgy for its time, and offered Bacharach an opportunity to bring his trademark studio sound intact to the musical's score. Both "I'll Never Fall in Love Again" and "Promises, Promises" would become major radio hits after debuting in the musical, with the score also including such songs as "Knowing When to Leave" and "Whoever You Are (I Love You)."
The musical was a giant hit on Broadway, and an influential one. Getting that Bacharach sound out of the recording studio and into a live theatre required complex amplification and mixing of not only the actors' voices but of individual instruments in the orchestra—the show would become the first on Broadway to bring a studio-style mixing board into the pit. Together with then-newcomer orchestrator Jonathan Tunick (who's interviewed in the piece above), Bacharach redefined what a Broadway musical could sound like. Many of the artists responsible for Promises, Promises would go on to work on Stephen Sondheim's Company in 1970—notably including Tunick and choreographer Michael Bennett, both of whom expanded upon their achievements on Promises for Company's sound and choreography—making the Tony-winning landmark concept musical somewhat of a spiritual successor to Promises.
Promises would go on to receive a Tony nomination for Best Musical (losing to 1776) and spawn a West End production, national tours, and countless regional stagings. The work returned to New York via City Center Encores! in 1997, with Martin Short starring; and to Broadway in a 2010 revival starring Sean Hayes and Kristin Chenoweth. The latter production added two Bacharach-David classics to the score, with both "I Say a Little Prayer" and "A House Is Not a Home" joining the songlist.