Play the Songs
An updated musical adaptation of the film classic All About Eve, APPLAUSE uncovers the ruthless world of show business, where a conniving young actress attempts to sabotage the career of a seasoned musical theatre star. With sass, wit, and a pulsing 1970s score, APPLAUSE presents show biz in all its glory and ruthlessness.
Book writers Betty Comden and Adolph Green wrote, “The strength of All About Eve, so soundly conceived and executed on the screen, lay in the timelessness of its basic story. It is a tale of treachery… told in terms of the witty, glamorous theatre star and the mousy, adoring girl from the sticks who ingratiates herself into the star’s private world, and then systematically attempts to take over her career, her lover, and her life.“
Hit songs include “But Alive,” “Applause,” “Welcome to the Theater,” and “Something Greater.”
Music samples courtesy of Universal Music and Strada Music Co.
Interview with composer Charles Strouse and lyricist Lee Adams
- Rehearsal Materials
- Cast List
- Brief History
Margo Channing, a seasoned Broadway actress, has just debuted another hit show. On opening night she basks in the “Backstage Babble.” Unhappily, Margo’s faults are as grand as her talent. She is paranoid about her age and even though she doesn’t want to marry Bill Sampson, the play’s director, she says she can’t live without him.
Young Eve Harrington has another view of the bright lights. She says Margo’s performances, the way she conveys life on stage, have saved her from despair. In “The Best Night Of My Life,” she thanks Margo for letting her take part in the glamour of an opening night. Eve’s ingenuous admiration relaxes Margo. As the two women watch one of Margo’s movies, Margo laments her lost youth (“Who’s That Girl?”).
As Eve ingratiates herself more and more into Margo’s life, Margo begins to think Eve is more akin to the serpent than the innocent woman of the Biblical garden. At Bill’s surprise birthday party she resents Eve’s cunning friendliness with him, and proceeds to sharpen her wits on the guests. In an indiscriminate attack on anyone who moves, Margo shows her claws and sings “Fasten Your Seat Belts.” The act ends as Eve successfully auditions to be Margo’s understudy. Margo interprets Eve’s success as a personal betrayal and sings “Welcome To The Theater,” where “treachery’s sweetly done.”
Act II opens by introducing Karen Richards, the playwright’s wife and Margo’s good friend. Karen, a product of Eastern Schools now settled in the Connecticut country life, is no match for worldly, wiley Eve. Karen sings “Inner Thoughts,” hoping everyone will laugh when they discover her “favor” for Eve. She has emptied the gas tank so that Margo will miss her train to New York, and Eve will have a chance to understudy in the play.
Eve’s last minute substitution for Margo is covered – miraculously – by all the critics who matter. She returns to the gypsies’ bar after the show and cold-shoulders those who are beneath her now. As Eve leaves, the dancers explode into a production number noting Eve’s change (“She’s No Longer A Gypsy”). Eve, who has conveniently awakened the romantic interests of the stage manager, the producer, and the playwright, now makes an unsuccessful play for the director, Bill Sampson, Margo’s boyfriend. In “One Hallowe’en,” Eve crows, “No one worries how you got there/ Once you’re standing on the top.” Howard, the producer, overhears the last part and introduces some poetic justice. He has uncovered her not-so-tragic past, and he blackmails her into being his plaything.
As Eve becomes more of a public success, Margo becomes more defensive about her own place in the spotlight. Bill tries to convince Margo that love is more important in “One Of A Kind.” But it isn’t until Margo is consoling husbandless Karen that she realizes there’s another life beside the one on stage. Margo recognizes the ugly side of herself in Eve, and finally decides there’s “Something Greater” than blind ambition and the sound of applause.
Book by Betty Comden and Adolph Green
Music by Charles Strouse Lyrics by Lee Adams
(Based on the film “All About Eve”
and the original story by Mary Orr)
Original production directed and choreographed by Ron Field
Originally produced by Joseph Kipness and Laurence Kasha
Such credits to the authors for all purposes shall be in type size equal to or greater than that of any other credits except for that of the star(s) above the title. In the programs, the credits shall appear on the title page thereof.
The title page of the program shall contain the following announcement in type size at least one-half the size of the authors’ credits:
is presented by arrangement with
TAMS-WITMARK MUSIC LIBRARY, INC.
560 Lexington Avenue, New York, New York 10022
3 Violins I & II
1 Bass and Electric Fender Bass
1 Reed I: Alto Saxophone, Clarinet, Flute, Piccolo (Optional Alto Flute)
1 Reed II: Alto Saxophone, Clarinet & Flute
1 Reed III: Tenor Saxophone, Clarinet & Bass Clarinet
1 Reed IV: Tenor and Soprano Saxophones, Clarinet (Optional Eb Clarinet)
1 Reed V: Baritone Saxophone, Clarinet, Bassoon (Optional Flute)
2 Trumpets I & II (Both double Flugelhorn. Trumpet I with electric attachment to lower pitch)
1 Trumpet III (and Flugelhorn)
1 Trombone I
1 Trombone II
1 Trombone III (Bass Trombone)
2 Percussion I & II
Wood Block (2)
1 Electric Organ
1 Guitar (Electric & Acoustic), Banjo, and Mandolin, cued for stage Ukulele
Piano-Celeste (Piano-Conductor’s Score sent with rehearsal material. This is the Orchestra and Stage Piano part)
Orchestra parts have been cross cued to make the following parts optional: Violins I & II, Viola, Cello, Harp, Organ & Guitar.
1 Piano Conductor’s Score
1 Prompt Book
24 Dialogue Parts
30 Chorus-Vocal Parts
Optional Additional Materials
1 Stage Manager’s Guide
Tony Awards Announcer
Tony Awards Host
Margo Channing — actress, queen of the theater
Eve Harrington — actress, a generation younger than Margo
Howard Benedict — theatrical producer
Buzz Richards — playwright
Duane Fox — Margo’s hairdresser
Bill Sampson — Margo’s lover and her director
Karen Richards — Buzz’s wife
Peter — Margo’s agent
Bob — Margo’s lawyer
Stan Harding — newspaper columnist
Bonnie — principal singer among the show biz gypsies
Bert — stage manager for Margo’s play
Sammy — one of the Village Bar patrons
Orrin — TV director and stage piano player for gypsies
Danny Burns — dedicated show biz gypsy
Debi — solo voice among show biz gypsies
Show Biz Gypsies: Carol, Joan, Mike, Gene
American and Italian telephone operators’ voices
Stage hands, show business gypsies, autograph seekers, party guests, waiters, three musicians,
Village Bar customers, TV technicians and script girl.
APPLAUSE played on Broadway for 896 performances at the Palace Theatre. Lauren Bacall starred as Margo Channing and Bonnie Franklin sang the title song.
4 Tony Awards for Best Musical, Choreography, Director and Actress
2 Theatre World Awards for Best Actor and Best Featured Actress
3 Drama Desk Awards for Outstanding Director, Choreography and Performance
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