The Group Rep Brings ‘Promises, Promises’ to North Hollywood

By Bethany BROWN

Crescenta Valley High School performing arts teachers, spouses and members of The Group Rep – Brent Beerman and Kathi Chaplar – will be directing “Promises, Promises” this holiday season at the Lonny Chapman Theatre in North Hollywood, 10900 Burbank Blvd.

The onstage musical will be performed through Sunday, Jan. 15 following opening night on Friday, Dec. 9. The Group Rep – or Lonny Chapman Group Repertory Theatre (LCGRT) – is a non-profit theatre company of actors, directors and playwrights. The company formed in 1973 and has since produced over 200 productions including more than 37 world premieres of original works. Both Beerman and Chaplar have been members of the organization since 2017 and expressed their excitement for the opportunity to co-direct together professionally for the first time.

        “It’s like coming home in that this is what Brent and I have done for almost 30 years,” Chaplar said. “When we’re at school we kind of do our separate things, so it’s really fun for us to be collaborating closely in this way.”

Beerman has worked at CVHS since 1994 and Chaplar since 1996 and throughout that time they’ve overseen nearly 30 school productions. While there are some differences between school productions and professional productions, they agree that neither is “better” than the other.

        “They’re different and they each have their own energy,” Chaplar said. “Working with young performers is exciting because there’s a lot of discovery that occurs in the process of them discovering their voice and their own power on stage; there’s something really rewarding about that.”

She said on the other hand working with seasoned actors is also exciting because they’re able to bring their own vision to the stage and fulfill that vision with the directors.

Beerman added that working with students is “more mentor, less collaborative in a sense” so they’ve enjoyed the abundance of creative collaboration that has gone into this project given their large team.

As for how the duo balances full-time teaching with their demanding director roles outside the classroom, they claim the key is learning how to conserve creative energy so that they can give it to their different projects equally. While they admit that sometimes it feels like there are not enough hours in the day, they’ve found a successful balance by having a strictly organized schedule and ultimately doing just one thing at a time.

        “That’s really what helps us the most,” Beerman said, noting that they’re done at school at around 3:30 p.m. and attend rehearsal at the theatre from 5 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. on weekdays. “It’s just a matter of taking it one day at a time.”

Chaplar added that the entire “Promises, Promises” cast has spent nearly every day rehearsing since the beginning of October to get ready for the big opening night.

        “Promises, Promises” is based on the 1960 comedy film, “The Apartment,” which revolves around a junior executive at an insurance company who seeks to climb the corporate ladder by allowing his apartment to be used for trysts by his married superiors. The music is by Burt Bacharach, lyrics by Hal David and the book by Neil Simon. Chaplar said it’s just a funny and quirky show that feels timely considering most of the play takes place during the holidays after trouble begins at the annual office Christmas party.

The musical first premiered in 1968 on Broadway and closed after 1,281 performances. It was revived as a West End production a year later and featured Tony Roberts and Betty Buckley. The cast album won the Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album, and two songs from the show – including “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again” by Dionne Warwick – became hit singles.

        “We’re going to truly be a part of the holidays with this performance and hopefully a part of people’s holiday agendas,” Beerman said. “It’s been fun watching all the pieces come together and we’re excited to finally share with an audience what we’ve been preparing for.”

Shows will be held Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. – including on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Tickets can be purchased in advance at For more information, call (818) 763-5990 or email