One of the longest running comedies in Off-Broadway history, Vanities is set in the 1960s and 1970s, and music of the era will be playing in the background like a Baby Boomer sound track. The Savannah Community Theatre will present the play beginning March 28.
Ashley Robinson, Jordyn Schafer and Stefanie Selai star in the play, which is directed by J. Tom Coleman III. Connect Savannah recently spoke with Coleman about the production.Tell me about Vanities.
Tom Coleman III: It was written by Jack Heifner. It’s being turned into a musical on Broadway next fall. It’s sort of a coming-of-age story of three Texas cheerleaders. We first see the characters when they’re in high school. They’re pledging to always be friends, to be roommates in college. Then we see them in college in their senior year, worried about their futures. One has decided what she wants her life to be, the others are open to what might happen. All three are scared. They meet five years later in a garden apartment in New York and we find out what’s happened to them. It’s about how your life never quite turns out how you think it’s going to. It has some of the funniest lines I’ve read. It gets into a serious vein in the third act.What’s challenging about directing it?
Tom Coleman III: It’s an acting show. Clue is coming up, and it will be a bunch of gags and blocking. This one requires three people who can do changes in age. We see them grow older. I’m trying to help them form characters that actually develop from one stage to another.Is it a women’s lib kind of play?
Tom Coleman III: I talked with a woman who is a mentor to me. She described it that way to me, but I don’t think of it in those terms. I think about it as three women who are all looking for something different. No, it’s not a man-basher. The theme is not a women’s libber thing. They all graduate high school in the 1970s and feel unlimited possibilities are open to them. They’re going to go out and do something. It’s more about what doesn’t happen to you than what does happen to you. I think ever one of them gets what she wanted. The problem is, it isn’t what they thought it would be. We see a group of college students who are going to set the world on fire. We hear all the stories about what they’re going to accomplish in their lives. None of them have made it where they intended to make it.How are your actors doing with the roles?
Tom Coleman III: I’m happy with them so far. We go line by line by line by line. The only problem is covering a long period of time. They haven’t experiences the old end in life. They know the young end and the middle. They’re playing the first and second acts very well, but in the third act they’re having to stretch.Vanities