Applause [Original Broadway Cast]

Applause [Original Broadway Cast]

     
 
Applause was the biggest hit to emerge from the 1969-70 Broadway musical season. An adaptation of the classic 1950 film All About Eve, it told the story of aging Broadway star, Margo Channing, and her scheming protégée Eve Harrington. In the movie, Margo had been played by 42-year-old Bette Davis, and Eve by Anne Baxter.

Overview

Applause was the biggest hit to emerge from the 1969-70 Broadway musical season. An adaptation of the classic 1950 film All About Eve, it told the story of aging Broadway star, Margo Channing, and her scheming protégée Eve Harrington. In the movie, Margo had been played by 42-year-old Bette Davis, and Eve by Anne Baxter. Onstage, it was 45-year-old Lauren Bacall, making her musical theater debut, and Penny Fuller. The book was by Betty Comden and Adolph Green (for once not writing lyrics), while the score was by Charles Strouse and Lee Adams, whose only previous hit was Bye Bye Birdie (though Golden Boy had a respectable run). The show was a triumph for Bacall, who won the Tony for best actress, and it also created a star in Bonnie Franklin, who sang the title song (which became a minor standard) and went on to the 1975 TV series One Day at a Time. Solidly written and directed, Applause won the Tony for best musical and ran just short of 900 performances. (It didn't hurt that the producers had the clever idea of replacing Bacall with Anne Baxter, now old enough to play Margo instead of Eve.) As the cast album reveals, however, the weak spot in the show was the score, which is traditional-sounding and pedestrian. Not known as a singer, Bacall hasn't much range, but the songs have been tailored for her limitations, so that's not a problem. The problem is a lack of originality. You only have to compare it to Stephen Sondheim's score for Company, which opened less than a month later, to hear the death throes of an old Broadway and the sparkling birth of a new one. This may help explain why there were no major revivals of Applause after the initial production (though there was a 1971 national tour, a 1972 London production, and a 1973 TV broadcast, all featuring Bacall) and why the original Broadway cast album, the only recording of the score, went out of print by the dawn of the CD era. It took until after the show's 30th anniversary for the Universal Music Group, inheritor of the old ABC Records catalog, to get around to reissuing it on CD for the first time on its Decca Broadway label on October 17, 2000. The reissue featured four valuable bonus tracks, all demonstration recordings by composer Charles Strouse made prior to the production. Strouse sang and played the title song along with three songs ultimately cut from the show that suggested the part of Howard Benedict, a combination of the film characters Max Fabian (Margo's producer) and Addison De Witt (the sinister critic played by George Sanders), may have been bigger in the early stages of the writing. "The Loneliest Man in Town" seemed to be a solo song for this character, and "God Bless" was a bitchy duet for him and Margo. "Smashing N.Y. Times," meanwhile, revealed the impact of reviews on the lives of the characters. All the cut songs were good enough to have been in the show, and they provided a fascinating glimpse into the creative process.

Product Details

Release Date:
10/17/2000
Label:
Decca U.S.
UPC:
0601215940428
catalogNumber:
159404
Rank:
53544

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Ann Williams   Vocals
Len Cariou   Vocals
Don Pippin   Conductor,Performing Ensemble
Charles Strouse   Piano,Vocals
Lauren Bacall   Vocals
Gypsies   Track Performer
Lee Roy Reams   Vocals
Bonnie Franklin   Vocals
Penny Fuller   Vocals
Brandon Maggart   Vocals
Robert Mandan   Vocals
Mel Marvin   Tap Dance
Donald Pippn & Orchestra   Conductor
Donald Pippin   Conductor
Ronnie Franklin   Vocals

Technical Credits

Lenny Williams   Contributor
Ann Williams   Story
Len Cariou   Contributor,Story
Don Pippin   Vocal Arrangements,Musical Director
Lee Adams   Producer
Robert Arnold   Producer,Engineer
Betty Comden   Liner Notes,Book
Adolph Green   Liner Notes,Book
Philip J. Lang   Orchestration
Charles Strouse   Producer
Lauren Bacall   Contributor
Max O. Preeo   Liner Notes
Penny Bennett   Art Direction
LuAnn Graffeo   Reissue Design
Lu Ann Graffen   Reissue Design
Lee Roy Reams   Story
Charles J. Roberts   Executive Producer
Henry Epstein   Cover Design
Brian Drutman   Reissue Producer
Ray Aghayan   Costume Design
Ron Field   Director,Choreographer
Bonnie Franklin   Story
Penny Fuller   Contributor,Story
Brandon Maggart   Contributor,Story
Robert Mandan   Contributor,Story
Mel Marvin   Arranger
Mary Orr   Story
Daniel Pezza   Cover Design
Clyde Smith   Cover Art
Robert Randolph   Scenery
Lee Adams   Producer
Chris Roberts   Executive Producer

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