Applause was the biggest hit to emerge from the 1969-70 Broadway musical season. A musical 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, 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." 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. 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.
|Overture / Lee Adams / Charles Strouse||Amazon|
|Backstage Babble / Lee Adams / Charles Strouse||Amazon|
|Think How it's Gonna Be / Lee Adams / Charles Strouse||Len Cariou||Amazon|
|But Alive / Lee Adams / Charles Strouse||Lauren Bacall||Amazon|
|The Best Night of my Life / Lee Adams / Charles Strouse||Penny Fuller||Amazon|
|Who's That Girl? / Lee Adams / Charles Strouse||Lauren Bacall / Penny Fuller||Amazon|
|Applause / Lee Adams / Charles Strouse||Bonnie Franklin / The Gypsies||Amazon|
|Hurry Back / Lee Adams / Charles Strouse||Lauren Bacall||Amazon|
|Fasten Your Seat Belts / Lee Adams / Charles Strouse||Lauren Bacall / Len Cariou / Robert Mandan / Lee Roy Reams / Ann Williams||Amazon|
|Welcome to the Theatre / Lee Adams / Charles Strouse||Lauren Bacall||Amazon|
|Good Friends / Lee Adams / Charles Strouse||Lauren Bacall / Brandon Maggart / Ann Williams||Amazon|
|She's No Longer a Gypsy / Lee Adams / Charles Strouse||Bonnie Franklin / The Gypsies / Lee Roy Reams||Amazon|
|One of a Kind / Lee Adams / Charles Strouse||Lauren Bacall / Len Cariou||Amazon|
|One Hallowe'en / Lee Adams / Charles Strouse||Penny Fuller||Amazon|
|Something Greater / Lee Adams / Charles Strouse||Lauren Bacall / Len Cariou||Amazon|
|Finale / Lee Adams / Charles Strouse||Company||Amazon|
|Applause (demo) / Lee Adams / Charles Strouse||Charles Strouse||Amazon|
|The Loneliest Man in Town (demo) / Lee Adams / Charles Strouse||Charles Strouse||Amazon|
|Smashing N.Y. Times (demo) / Lee Adams / Charles Strouse||Charles Strouse||Amazon|
|God Bless (demo) / Lee Adams / Charles Strouse||Charles Strouse||Amazon|