Three Cheers: Vanities, a New Musical Is Aiming for Broadway

News   Three Cheers: Vanities, a New Musical Is Aiming for Broadway
 
Vanities, the new musical version of the popular Jack Heifner play about former cheerleaders, took its latest step toward a commercial New York run Sept. 27 when its producers staged a private industry presentation in Manhattan.

Playbill.com has learned producers Junkyard Dog Productions and Bartner/Jenkins have their sights set on a fall 2008 Broadway berth for the intimate three-actress musical about one-time Texas cheerleaders coming of age between the 1960s and '70s.

Vanities, a New Musical has music and lyrics by David Kirshenbaum and a book by Jack Heifner, based on his 1976 Off-Broadway play.

Judith Ivey, the Tony Award-winning actress who is becoming a sought-after director, staged the recent presentation of the show, which featured Sarah Stiles (who performed the role of Joanne in the Palo Alto, CA world premiere), Kate Wetherhead as Kathy and Mary Faber as Mary.

The recent cast, as is usual with dawning shows, does not necessarily reflect the future Broadway cast. Ivey will remain attached as director (she's been shepherding it since early 2007). Carmel Dean continues as musical director and vocal arranger. Dan Knechtges (Xanadu, 110 in the Shade, …Spelling Bee) is choreographer. Tony Award-nominated scenic designer Anna Louizos (High Fidelity, White Christmas, In the Heights) has mentioned publicly that she'll do sets. The complete creative team and casting will be announced at a future date.

Originally produced at TheatreWorks in Palo Alto in 2006 and presented at the National Alliance for Musical Theatre (NAMT) Festival of New Musicals that fall, the show won the 2006 San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Awards for Best Musical and Best Score. Kirshenbaum penned music and lyrics to Off-Broadway's Summer of '42, which is licensed by Dramatists Play Service. The cast album is on Jay Records. Williamstown Theatre Festival produced his musical, Party Come Here, earlier this summer.

Heifner's plays also include Earth to Bucky, Patio/Porch, Natural Disasters, Running On Empty, Bargains, Jumping for Joy, Boy's Play, Home Fires, Heartbreak, Comfort and Joy, The Lemon Cookie, Dwarf Tossing and Key West.

The intermissionless Vanities musical follows the trio of friends for a decade (as does the play), and includes a new coda that tells what happened to them since the 1970s. Heifner said fans of the hot regional property have asked him over the years what happened to the ladies, but he always resisted writing about it — until now.

Junkyard Dog Productions is also behind the fall 2007 Off-Broadway run of Make Me a Song, the new revue of William Finn songs.

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