Two time Tony Award winning actress Lauren Bacall celebrates her 88th birthday today, September 16, 2012. Prior to beginning her prolific career in film and television, Bacall made her Broadway debut in the ensemble of Johnny 2 X 4 (1942). She returned to the New York stage twice before winning acclaim as Margo Channing in Applause (1970), a musical based on film classic All About Eve (1950). In 1981, Bacall starred in Kander and Ebb’s Woman of the Year (1981), a feminist musical exploring gender roles and female ambition.
An adaptation of the 1942 film of the same title, Woman of the Year was the most commercially successful “women’s issues” musical of the decade, running for 770 performances and winning 4 Tony Awards including best book and best score.
The musical centers on Tess, an aggressive, strong, and independent woman heralding feminist ideals, “what you need is brains, what you need is push, what you need is energy to get off your tush. But you don’t need men when you come to bat. No you do not need a man, I’m the proof of that!” Despite Tess’ bravado and gusto, the all-male creative team (John Kander, Fred Ebb, Peter Stone) posit her as a complex individual struggling to balance her career and personal life.
The following clip features Lauren Bacall and the cast of Woman of the Year performing “One of the Boys” at the 1981 Tony Awards.
Book: Peter Stone
Music: John Kander
Lyrics: Fred Ebb
Directed by: Robert Moore
Musical Staging: Tony Charmoli