Applause, the 15th Encores! Season Opener announces full cast

Kate Burton, Mario Cantone, Tom Hewitt, Michael Park, Megan Sikora, Chip Zien and Erin Davie will star alongside the previously announced Tony Award-winner Christine Ebersole in New York City Center Encores! 1970 Tony Award-winning hit, Applause.

Directed and choreographed by Kathleen Marshall with music direction by Rob Berman, Applause will play five performances, from 7 - 10 Feb 2008 at New York City Center.

Applause, based on the classic Bette Davis film, All About Eve, is the ultimate backstage musical � the story of the great Broadway star Margo Channing (Christine Ebersole) and her duplicitous understudy, Eve Harrington (Erin Davie).

The ensemble features Tony Freeman, Bob Gaynor, David Studwell, J.D. Webster, Cole Burden, John Carroll, Paula Leggett Chase, Susan Derry, Sarah Jane Everman, Lisa Gajda, Gregg Goodbrod, Justin Greer, James Harkness, Joe Komara, Raymond Lee, Monica Patton, Manuel Santos, Jennifer Savelli, Chaunte� Schuler, Steven Sofia, Kevin Vortman and Kristen Beth Williams.

The musical's score is by Charles Strouse, with lyrics by Lee Adams and book by Betty Comden and Adolph Green.

The original Broadway production of Applause starred Lauren Bacall and opened at the Palace Theatre on 30 Mar 1970, playing a total of 896 performances and winning five Tony Awards, including one for Best Musical. The musical's songs include 'Applause,' 'Welcome to the Theater' and 'But Alive.'

Christine Ebersole (Margo Channing) won Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and Obie Awards for her performance as Edith and Edie Beale in 'Grey Gardens.' (2006) She was also awarded the Tony for her performance in '42nd Street' (2001 revival). Ebersole�s previous Encores! credits include' Allegro,' 'Lady In The Dark,' 'Ziegfeld Follies of 1936' and 'A Connecticut Yankee.'

Erin Davie (Eve Harrington) made her Broadway debut as young �Little� Edie Beale in 'Grey Gardens' (2006). After the run of Applause, Davie will join the cast of the current Broadway production of Curtains on Friday, 15 Feb.

Kate Burton (Karen Richards) starred on Broadway in 'The Constant Wife' (2005 revival), 'Elephant Man' (2002 revival) and Hedda Gabler (2001 revival), receiving Tony award nominations for her performances in all three plays. Her 2002 nominations for 'Elephant Man' and 'Hedda Gabler' made her one of only three actors to ever receive dual Tony nominations in the same year.

Chip Zien (Buzz Richards) most recently appeared on Broadway in the revival of 'Les Miserables' (2006) in the role of Thenardier. His many Broadway appearances include lead roles in 'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (2005),' 'The Boys From Syracuse (2002 revival),' 'Falsettos (1992),' 'Grand Hotel. (1989)' and 'Into the Woods, (1987).'

Mario Cantone (Duane Fox) made his Broadway debut in 'Love! Valour! Compassion!' (1995). Since then, he has been seen on Broadway in 'The Tempest' (1995 revival), The Violet Hour (2003) and Assassins (2004). Mr. Cantone�s one-man variety show, 'Laugh Whore,' ran on Broadway in 2004.

Megan Sikora (Bonnie) made her Broadway debut in 42nd Street (2001 revival) and is currently appearing in Curtains. Other Broadway credits include Wicked, 'Thoroughly Modern Millie' (2002) and 'Dracula, The Musical (2004). Sikora was featured in the Encores! production of 'A Connecticut Yankee.'

Michael Park (Bill Sampson) appeared on Broadway in 'Little Me' (1998 revival), 'Smokey Joe�s Caf�' (1995), and 'Carousel' (1994 revival). Park was featured in the Encores! production of 'Bloomer Girl.'

Kathleen Marshall (Director and Choreographer) returns to New York City Center�s Encores!, where she last directed and choreographed '70, Girls, 70.' The three-time Tony award-winner has directed and choreographed numerous Broadway hits, most recently a revival of Grease and the critically acclaimed Broadway revival of The Pajama Game (2006), which won her the 2006 Tony Award for Best Choreography. As Artistic Director of the Encores! series from 1997-2000, Marshall directed many favorite Encores! productions and won a Tony Award for her choreography of the 2003 production of 'Wonderful Town' that transferred to Broadway which she also directed.

The next production in 2008 Encores! is Joseph Stein and Marc Blitzstein�s rarely seen Juno, directed by Tony Award-winner Garry Hynes (Beauty Queen of Leenane), 27 - 30 Mar 2008. The show will star Victoria Clark, with further casting still to be announced.

The final show of the season is No, No, Nanette, starring Rosie O�Donnell and Tony Award-winner Beth Leavel and directed by Tony Award-winner Walter Bobbie (Chicago), running from 8 - 12 May 2008.

The show will star Rosie O�Donnell, Sandy Duncan, Fred Willard, Beth Leavel, Shonn Wiley and Mara Davi, with further casting still to be announced.

Rob Berman has been appointed music director for the 2008 season.

New York City Center Encores! (Jack Viertel, Artistic Director) has, since 1994, celebrated the rarely-heard works of America�s most important composers and lyricists. Conceived as �concert versions,� each Encores! season gives three scores the chance to be heard as originally intended by their creators.

Over the years, Encores! has presented the works of the Gershwins, Rodgers and Hart, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, Kurt Weill, Bock and Harnick, Burt Bacharach, Kander and Ebb, Comden and Green, and many more.

The program is the recipient of a special 2000 Tony Honor for Excellence in the Theatre, as well as an Outer Critics Circle Award, Lucille Lortel Award and Jujamcyn Theaters Award.

Originally published on

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