'Applause' Bows Out; 'Man of La Mancha' to Replace It


Listen up, all you Stephanie Powers fans: "Applause," starring Powers, is out, and "Man of La Mancha," starring Robert Goulet, is in.

The 1966 Tony Award-winning chestnut will replace "Applause" (Dec. 31-Jan. 5) in the Broadway Series at the Orange County Performing Arts Center.

The national touring production of "Applause," which was to ring in the New Year here on its way to Broadway, closed down "temporarily" earlier this week. The center learned of the cancellation "just a few days ago," a spokesman said.

Forced to scramble for a replacement, the center didn't have to look far for "Man of La Mancha," now on a West Coast tour in a revival produced by Pace Theatricals. Pace has been co-producer of the Broadway Series since the center opened in 1986. Before the show gets to the center, it will open at the McCallum Theatre in Palm Springs on Nov. 26 and at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium on Dec. 3.

The New York producers of "Applause," Barry and Fran Weissler--who have mounted other national tours that stopped at the center ("Grease" and "Bye Bye Birdie," among them)--have blamed the tour shutdown on "a difficult season for plays and musicals unless they are the mega-hits from the recent Broadway season."

"Therefore," their press release said, "in an effort to safeguard the road theaters and presenters from dramatic losses and potential economic turmoil," they will wait for "a more viable time" to send the show back out on the road.

Goulet, last seen at the center in May with the Pacific Symphony, has starred in two previous Broadway revivals that stopped at the center: "Camelot" (1990) and "South Pacific" (1988). The steely baritone made his Broadway debut 36 years ago in "Camelot" and later won a Tony Award for best actor in a musical ("The Happy Time," 1968).

"Man of La Mancha" is a musicalization of the picaresque, 16th century Miguel Cervantes novel "Don Quixote." Dale Wasserman wrote the book. The score, with music by Mitch Leigh and lyrics by Joe Darion, also won a Tony. The show's most famous song is "The Impossible Dream."

Those holding tickets to "Applause" can get refunds or exchanges on request. Information: (714) 556-2787.

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