Theater: Bacallelujah!

Lauren Bacall is the pearl in a half-good, half-not-so-good oyster of a musical called Applause. Star quality is supposed to be indefinable, but Bacall helps to define it. Just as one does not have to search for Picasso's signature to recognize a Picasso, so Bacall's work bears the indelible marks of style and self. She owns the stage but wants the earth. A bundle of past struggles, future aspirations and present tensions, she is never in true repose. Her presence is a demand—a lot from others and even more from herself. It is also...

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