First... a request to people reviewing stage cast albums, Several reviews refer to these recordings as "soundtracks."
"Soundtrack" recordings are records/cds transfered from from movies ONLY.
Live theatre does not use pre-recorded "soundtracks" - the casts perform live on stage and these "original cast recordings" are made in recording studios and designed for home listening.
PLEASE.... maintain your credibility by using the correct term!
Finally, after years of negotiation Decca Broadway is making the 1970 Tony winning musical APPLAUSE avaialble on Cd. Was it worth the wait? Well, yes and no. APPLAUSE is one of those late 60's musicals adapted from a hit play/novel/movie and offering lots of glitz and energy to cover up the deficiencies of the show itself.
Star Lauren Bacall provided the "star" quality though she has no real singing voice but as an actress she rises above it bringing the character to vivid life. Len Cariou sings well as Bacall's boyfriend but has very little to do.
Bacall gets the key gems and with two major exceptions any of the numbers in which she does not appear can be ignored. The first exception is the lively title song - a tribute to the power of applause. It has almost nothing to do with the plot but still stopped the show nightly. The other,is a dramatic soliloque for Penny Fuller in the (virtually) non-singing role of Eve: "One Hallowe'en." This is Eve's big moment to really show her true colours and Fuller makes the most of it. Missing from the recording - becasue it is a dialogue scene - is the following moments when Eve recieves humiliating comeuppance.
The original Lp release was done by ABC records and had an annoying "boxy" sound quality that has not been corrected on the cd. The very short selection has been filled out with demo recordings by composer Charles Strouse and a couple of the cut songs sound quite interesting. Packaging is up to Decca Broadway's usual high standards.