Vanities Will Begin Off-Broadway Previews July 2

News   Vanities Will Begin Off-Broadway Previews July 2 The Second Stage Theatre production of the new musical Vanities will now begin previews July 2, two days later than originally announced. Opening will be July 16 at 6:30 PM.
Vanities' Sarah Stiles, Anneliese van der Pol and Lauren Kennedy.
Vanities' Sarah Stiles, Anneliese van der Pol and Lauren Kennedy. Photo by Craig Schwartz

The once Broadway-bound production — featuring Lauren Kennedy, Sarah Stiles, and Anneliese van der Pol — will close the not-for-profit company's current season.

Judith Ivey directs the new musical penned by Jack Heifner (book) and David Kirshenbaum (music and lyrics), based on Heifner's popular play about a trio of Texas cheerleaders and how they change (or don't) over the years. Dan Knechtges (Xanadu, ...Spelling Bee) handles musical staging. Performances will play to Aug. 9.

Vanities, the musical, "spans the turbulent '60s through the late '80s and explores how important friends are as one faces life's defining moments: growing up, getting older and getting over it," according to Second Stage.

Kennedy (Spamalot, Side Show), Stiles (Avenue Q, …Spelling Bee) and van der Pol (Beauty and the Beast, TV's "That's So Raven") star, as they did in a Pasadena Playhouse run in 2008.

Vanities had been previously announced to play Broadway's Lyceum Theatre but producers decided to postpone the New York bow in light of the troubled economy. Commercial producer Sue Frost stated April 15, "We are very pleased that Vanities has found a New York home at Second Stage Theatre. While our plans to open on Broadway were delayed because of the economy, the sudden opening in Second Stage's season provides a fortuitous opportunity for New York audiences to see this exciting new American musical." (The musical replaces the postponed run of Douglas Carter Beane's world premiere play Mr. and Mrs. Fitch.) Originally produced at TheatreWorks in Palo Alto, CA in 2006, the new musical was also showcased at the 2006 National Alliance for Musical Theatre (NAMT) Festival of New Musicals and seen at Pasadena Playhouse in August 2008.

Songwriter Kirshenbaum (Summer of '42, Party Come Here) told Playbill.com, "We learned a lot from the run last year at Pasadena Playhouse, and as a result we've made a lot of changes. Right now there are five new songs, lots of little book rewrites that Jack has done, and we completely reworked the framing device for the show. We feel like we've strengthened the storytelling and have hopefully made it more clear why we're all taking another look at this piece, and why we're telling this story today. We're thrilled to get to do it in New York, and especially excited about doing it at Second Stage."

The design team expected for Broadway remains intact for the Off-Broadway run: Anna Louizos (set), Joe Aulisi (costumes), Paul Miller (lighting) and Tony Meola (sound). Bryan Perri serves as music director. Carmel Dean provides vocal arrangements and Lynne Shankel handles orchestrations.

Second Stage is currently presenting Sherie Rene Scott in Everyday Rapture.

A number of productions seen at Off-Broadway's Second Stage have made the leap to Broadway in recent years, including Metamorphoses, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, The Little Dog Laughed and the current Tony-winning Next to Normal. The company recently acquired the right to purchase the historic Helen Hayes Theatre and plans to begin programming there in 2010.

Tickets to shows at Second Stage Theatre (307 West 43rd Street, off 8th Avenue) are available by calling (212) 246-4422, toll-free at (800) 766-6048 or online at 2ST.com.

Sarah Stiles, Lauren Kennedy and Anneliese van der Pol in the Pasadena Playhouse run of <i>Vanities</i>.
Sarah Stiles, Lauren Kennedy and Anneliese van der Pol in the Pasadena Playhouse run of Vanities. Photo by Craig Schwartz