As some of the productions originally announced for this season fall through (Godspell, Brigadoon, Nice Work If You Can Get It), other productions have cropped up to take their place.("Recession? What recession?")
The new musical Vanities, currently playing at the Pasadena Playhouse, will transfer to Broadway in February 2009 at a TBD Shubert Theater. The show opens this week in Pasadena, and continues through September 28th. The Pasadena cast features Lauren Kennedy (Spamalot), Sarah Stiles (Avenue Q), and Anneliese van der Pol (Beauty and the Beast) playing three high school friends and cheerleaders who mature and evolve over a 25-year span.
Vanities sports a book by Jack Heifner, who wrote the 1976 play upon which the musical is based, and music and lyrics by David Kirshenbaum (Summer of '42). Dan Knechtges (Xanadu) will provide the musical staging. Heifner's play ran for 1,785 performances Off-Broadway and has become a staple in regional theaters, presumably because of its small, all-female cast and sentimental subject matter.
For me, the most interesting person involved in the musical Vanities is the delightful Judith Ivey, who will direct. Ivey has graced the New York stage numerous times as an actress (most recently in the lackluster revival of Follies), but to date has not directed on Broadway. Great actors don't automatically make great directors (see John Gielgud reference below), so it will be interesting to see if Ivey can bring her undeniable spark to a show in which she's not performing.
With a cast of three and a presumably modest budget, will Vanities be the next little musical that could? Or will it be Glory Days with estrogen?