But Alive: 'Applause' Gets CD Release with Cut Songs, Oct. 17

News   But Alive: 'Applause' Gets CD Release with Cut Songs, Oct. 17 Applause, the musical based on "All About Eve," finally has a remastered CD release Oct. 17 from Decca Broadway.
Cover art for the Applause release.
Cover art for the Applause release.

Applause, the musical based on "All About Eve," finally has a remastered CD release Oct. 17 from Decca Broadway.

The 1970 Lauren Bacall vehicle was a smash at the time, but has not returned to Broadway despite a tuneful score by Charles Strouse and Lee Adams ("But Alive," "Think How It's Gonna Be," "Applause" and "She's No Longer a Gypsy"). A Paper Mill Playhouse revised revival (with new material) in the mid 1990s toured with Stefanie Powers but failed to land in New York.

In the original, Len Cariou was film director Bill Sampson to Bacall's stage actress Margo Channing, the 40ish artist who faces middle-age romantic blues and fears about her career when a young Eve Harrington (Penny Fuller) moves in on her personal and professional turf. The show won Tony Awards for Best Musical, Best Director and Choreographer (Ron Field) and Best Actress in a musical in 1970.

The show is drawn from a short story by Mary Orr ("The Wisdom of Eve") and the Oscar-winning 1950 film, "All About Eve," now enjoying a 50th-anniversary theatrical re-release in Manhattan.

The Applause cast included a young Bonnie Franklin, who, with other "gypsies," stole the show with the title number and accompanying antics. The repeated hook, "Applause, applause," has given some theatregoers the notion that the show is actually titled Applause, Applause. The mainstream show did break a little ground in 1970: Margo's gay hairdresser, Duane, played by Lee Roy Reams, takes Margo and Eve to a Greenwich Village gay disco to celebrate an opening night ("But Alive").

The cast included Robert Mandan (as producer Howard Benedict), Ann Williams (as Karen Richards), Brandon Maggart (as Buzz Richards). Betty Comden and Adolph Green penned the show's libretto, cutting Addison DeWitt and Birdie out of the stage version.

The Decca release includes four selections from a demo recording in 1969: Charles Strouse sings "Applause," and three songs that were cut out of town — "The Loneliest Man in Town," "Smashing New York Times," "God Bless."

The orchestra and chorus are conducted by Donald Pippin.

— By Kenneth Jones