Applause (Bonnie Franklin song)

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"Applause"
Single by Bonnie Franklin
from the album Applause (musical)
Released 1970
Format 45 rpm

"Applause" is the title song from the 1970 Broadway musical Applause, with music by Charles Strouse and lyrics by Lee Adams,[1] originally performed by Bonnie Franklin, who originated the role of Bonnie in the musical, and recorded as a single with orchestra and chorus conducted by Donald Pippin. The single was released with a B-side featuring the star of the production, Lauren Bacall, making her musical theatre debut, performing "Something Greater" together with Len Cariou. The single's popularity led to Franklin's being invited to perform it on the 24th Tony Awards broadcast on television, where the show gained Best Musical, Bacall Best Leading Actress in a Musical, but Bonnie Franklin missed out on the best supporting actress to Melba Moore.

Music and lyrics[edit]

The composer, Strouse, called in Marvin Hamlisch to write the arrangement for the title song "Applause", which was sung at the opening of the show by Franklin as waiters danced on tables.[2] The song was reprised at the end of the show.[3]

The song has Franklin's character, a waitress-cum-chorus dancer named Bonnie, asking her fellow waiter-performers: "What is it that we're living for?"—then providing the answer: "Applause, Applause! / Nothing I know / brings on the glow / like sweet applause."

Reception[edit]

Franklin's single was not only the most successful song from the stage production, but also the most successful of any Broadway song that season among 14 new shows.[4][5] For the stage performance New York reviews, including Time magazine, Plays and Players and The Outer Circle, commented favorably both on Franklin and her performance of the song "Applause".[6][7][8][9] Though some critics were puzzled at the giving of this "rousing, toe-tapping title song" to a supporting actress rather than the lead actress.[10] Norman Lear, who later cast and directed Franklin on TV, recalled "I loved the stride, the purposeful way she moves across a stage,".[11]

The Encyclopedia of the Musical Theatre (2001) notes that the song's success overshadowed a similarly named - and themed - song "Applause, Applause" by Burton Lane and Ira Gershwin in the film Give a Girl a Break (1953), which had been sung by Gower Champion and Debbie Reynolds.[12] The Oxford Companion to the American Musical (2008) describes Franklin's song as "celebratory" leading of "Broadway gypsies."[13] The influence of Bonnie Franklin's performance of the title song remained strong enough 30 years later that in a New York magazine article in 2001 men's style editor Hal Rubenstein made reference in New York restaurant review to "a future Bonnie Franklin working here who's gonna sing "Applause" atop a table."[14]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Thomas S. Hischak. Off-Broadway Musicals since 1919: From Greenwich Village ..., 2011. "Songwriters Charles Strouse and Lee Adams had Broadway hits together with Bye Bye Birdie, Applause, and Golden Boy."
  2. ^ Steven Suskin. The Sound of Broadway Music: A Book of Orchestrators, 2011.
  3. ^ Plays and Players - Volume 17 -1969, p. 16. [A]n adroitly handled prelude to the flashback that is the show."
  4. ^ Gerald Bordman, American Musical Theatre: A Chronicle, 2010 p. 735 "Charles Strouse set Lee Adams's words to music and in the title song (sung by Bonnie Franklin as a bar waitress) came up with the most successful tune to emerge from a Broadway show during the season. ... The only musical of the season other than Applause to close with a profit was its last, Company (26 April 1970, Alvin).
  5. ^ Curtain times: the New York theatre, 1965-1987. Otis L. Guernsey - 1987 - p. 159 "... 14 musicals presented on Broadway in 1969-70, the most satisfying was Applause, the Tony Award-winning show based on the same Mary Orr story as the movie All About Eve, with book by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, music by Charles Strouse and lyrics by Lee Adams. ... as the director Margo loves, Bonnie Franklin as a bouncing chorus gypsy and Lee Roy Reams as Margo's loyal hairdresser."
  6. ^ New York Theatre Critics' Reviews 1970 "One girl, Bonnie Franklin, making her Broadway debut, scores impressively with two delightful song-and-dance numbers. Indeed, I can't fault anybody in this big company, including the dancers — the title song, "Applause," and "She's No
  7. ^ Entertainment World -1970 "The single discovery of Applause is Bonnie Franklin, a round-faced, carrot-topped darling of a singer-dancer, who nearly stops the show with her two big production numbers."
  8. ^ Alice M. Robinson -Betty Comden and Adolph Green: a bio-bibliography 1994 - Page 124 "The Outer Circle cited Bonnie Franklin, the leader of the dancers, for her outstanding performance."
  9. ^ Time - Volume 95 - 1970 Page 97 "A perky, elfin-like charmer named Bonnie Franklin lends spirited vitality to the song-and-dance title number and is rightly rewarded with a storm of applause."
  10. ^ The Hollywood Reporter - Volume 403 2008 - Page 24 "One thing about "Applause" that has always puzzled me: Why was the show's rousing, toe-tapping title song given to a supporting character (Bonnie Franklin, as a Broadway gypsy, in the original) instead of the show's central character (i.e. Bacall) who dominated the show?"
  11. ^ TV Guide -1976 Page 33 "After conquering tap dancing, singing, Shakespeare, Broadway and Beverly Hills, Bonnie Franklin is ready to take things ... And Lear first noticed her in the original Broadway production of "Applause," where she sang the title song with such gusto that she was asked to repeat it for television on the Tony Awards show. ""I loved the stride, the purposeful way she moves across a stage," says Lear...."
  12. ^ Kurt Gänzl The Encyclopedia of the Musical Theatre: A-Gi -2001 Page 55 "It was one of these numbers, the title song describing the unparalleled jolt an artist gets from "Applause," which, as performed by Bonnie Franklin and the show's dancers, became the musical highlight of the evening. A similarly titled song expressing much the same sentiment and written by Burton Lane and Ira Gershwin had previously been heard in the film Give a Girl a Break (1953), performed by Gower Champion and Debbie Reynolds, but this one took on better."
  13. ^ The Oxford Companion to the American Musical: Theatre, Film Thomas S. Hischak - 2008 "Also featured in the cast were Lee Roy Reams, Brandon Maggart, Ann Williams, and Bonnie Franklin who led the Broadway “gypsies” in the celebratory title number. "
  14. ^ New York - Volume 34 2001 -- Page 128 "RESTAURANTS HAL RUBENSTEIN Not Tony Enough Restaurant row used to be more about plucky waiters than daring menus. ... paraphernalia, and swear that there's a future Bonnie Franklin working here who's gonna sing "Applause" atop ..."