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'Applause' at Encores! Feb.7-10 with Ebersole, Zien & Davie

<a href=Christine Ebersole " border="0" bheight="375" hspace="10" src="" title="Christine Ebersole " vspace="10" width="250"/>New York City Center Encores! begins its 2008 season with the 1970 Tony Award-winning hit, Applause, starring Christine Ebersole, Kate Burton, Mario Cantone, Tom Hewitt, Michael Park, Megan Sikora, Chip Zien and Erin Davie. Directed and choreographed by Kathleen Marshall with Music Direction by Rob Berman, Applause will play five performances, from February 7-10 at New York City Center, 131 West 55th Street (between 6th and 7th Avenues). 

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

The Encores! cast is: Christine Ebersole, Kate Burton, Mario Cantone, Tom Hewitt, Michael Park, Megan Sikora, Chip Zien and Erin Davie, with 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, Chaunteé Schuler, Steven Sofia, Kevin Vortman and Kristen Beth Williams

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.  She was also awarded the Tony for her performance in 42nd Street.  Other Broadway credits include Steel Magnolias, Dinner at Eight, and Gore Vidal's The Best Man.  Ms. 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. She appeared in the national tours of Swing! and The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber, and Off-Broadway in Infertility. She appeared as a featured soloist with the Boston Pops and has a BFA in Theatre from Boston Conservatory. After the run of Applause, Ms. Davie will join the cast of the current Broadway production of Curtains on Friday, February 15. 

Kate Burton (Karen Richards) starred on Broadway in The Constant Wife, Elephant Man and Hedda Gabler, 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. Other notable Broadway roles include Present Laughter, The Beauty Queen of Leenane and An American Daughter. <a href=Erin Davie " border="0" bheight="350" hspace="10" src="" title="Erin Davie " vspace="10" width="232"/>

Chip Zien (Buzz Richards) most recently appeared on Broadway in the revival of Les Miserables in the role of Thenardier.  His many Broadway appearances include lead roles in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Boys From Syracuse, Into the Woods, Falsettos and Grand Hotel.  Mr. Zien provided the voice of the title character in the movie Howard the Duck

Mario Cantone (Duane Fox) made his Broadway debut in the Tony Award-winning Love! Valour! Compassion! Since then, he has been seen on Broadway in The Tempest, The Violet Hour and Assassins. Mr. Cantone's one-man variety show, Laugh Whore, ran on Broadway, and his closing performance was taped for a SHOWTIME special. He has appeared on a number of television programs, but is perhaps best known for his role as Anthony Marintino on Sex in the City, a role he has repeated for the upcoming Sex in the City movie. Mr. Cantone was featured in the Encores! production of The Boys from Syracuse

Tom Hewitt (Howard Benedict) most recently starred on Broadway in the title role in Dracula, The Musical.  He was nominated for Tony and Drama Desk Awards for his role as Dr. Frank-N-Furter in The Rocky Horror Show and has appeared in leading roles in The Boys from Syracuse, The Lion King, Art and The Sisters Rosensweig, as well as the national tour of Urinetown

Megan Sikora (Bonnie) made her Broadway debut in 42nd Streetand is currently starring in Curtains. Her portrayal of Bambi in the Ahmanson Theatre production of Curtains earned her an L.A. Ovation Award nomination. Other Broadway credits include Wicked, Thoroughly Modern Millie and Dracula, The Musical. Ms. Sikora was featured in the Encores! production of A Connecticut Yankee. 

Michael Park (Bill Sampson) appeared on Broadway in Smokey Joe's Café, Little Me at the Roundaboutand Carousel at Lincoln Center Theater, and off Broadway in Violet at Playwrights Horizons and Milk and Honey with the American Jewish Theater. His many television roles include that of Detective Jack Snyder on As the World TurnsHe has been nominated for a Soap Opera Digest Award three times and a Daytime Emmy Award twice.  Mr. 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, 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). 

Rob Berman (Music Director) begins his first season as Encores! Music Director, following his work on last season's Encores! season finale, Stairway to Paradise.  He worked as Encores! founding music director Rob Fisher's associate on a number of productions at City Center and took over the podium from Maestro Fisher during the Broadway transfers of Wonderful Town and The Apple Tree, both of which originated at Encores! He was the conductor of the Broadway revival of The Pajama Game and music director of the Kennedy Center Sondheim Celebration's Sunday in the Park with George (Helen Hayes Award, Best Musical Direction). Berman is music supervisor of Irving Berlin's White Christmas and music director for the Kennedy Center Honors. 

The 2008 Encores! season is sponsored by the Newman's Own Foundation. 

Thursday, February 7 at 8:00 pm
Friday, February 8 at 8:00 pm
Saturday, February 9 at 2:00 pm and 8:00 pm
Sunday, February 10 at 6:30 pm 

Tickets for the 2008 Encores! season are available at the New York City Center Box Office (West 55th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues), through CityTix at 212-581-1212, or online at  Orchestra and Grand Tier tickets are $95; Mid-Mezzanine tickets are $90; Rear Mezzanine and Front Gallery tickets are $50; Rear Gallery tickets are $25. 

Photos: Christine Ebersole (photo by Mark Rupp) & Erin Davie (photo by Walter McBride / Retna Ltd)

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