|Written by||Jack Heifner|
|Date premiered||January 15, 1976|
New York City
Vanities is a comedy-drama stage production written by Jack Heifner. The story centers on the lives and friendship of three Texas cheerleaders starting from high school in 1963, continuing through college as sorority sisters in 1968, and ending with the dissolution of their friendship in 1974 New York as their interests and livelihoods change and they are no longer as compatible with one another as they had been in their school days.
Three best friends journey through high school, college and their later lives, as they remember all of their adventures. Joanne is a sweet, naive southern girl. Mary is very confident. Kathy is the planner.
Act 1: In high school in 1963, the three girls are the popular cheerleaders and are planning all of the social events. Toward the end of the act they are stunned by a sudden announcement over their school's PA system about President John F. Kennedy's assassination, which foreshadows the "death" of their friendship at the end of the play.
Act 2: Joanne, Mary and Kathy are in college in the late 1960s, living together in the same sorority, Kappa Kappa Gamma, still planning events. Kathy expresses confusion about what she wants to do after college.
Act 3: Joanne marries Ted, her longtime boyfriend, and becomes extremely conservative. Mary opens an erotic art gallery and explores sexual liberation. Kathy ends up cynical and living day to day in New York City, with no job, and reads all of the books she was supposed to read in college. When they meet at Kathy's fabulous apartment in New York in 1974, they end up fighting. Joanne gets drunk and talks about how she never has a break from her kids and her husband Ted never lets her drink. Incensed by Joanne's sanctimonious airs, Mary reveals she's had an affair with Joanne's husband Ted. Joanne refuses to believe her and ultimately tells her, "Go fuck yourself!" and leaves the party in a huff. Kathy and Mary close the play by drinking "to forget" their "bygone days" together.
Vanities had one of the longest Off-Broadway runs on record. The comedy opened at Playwrights Horizons, New York City on January 15, 1976, for 13 performances, and then transferred to the Chelsea Theatre Center (now the Westside Theatre) where it opened on March 22, 1976 and closed August 3, 1980, running for 1,785 performances. The cast included Kathy Bates as Joanne, Jane Galloway as Kathy and Susan Merson as Mary. Heifner received a 1976 Drama Desk Award nomination for Outstanding New Play. Other productions have been performed in colleges and theatres and continue to do so.
- The stage play was taped and presented on HBO in 1981, for the program Standing Room Only: Vanities starring Annette O'Toole, Meredith Baxter Birney and Shelley Hack.
- The play was made into a musical, Vanities: A New Musical which premiered Off-Broadway in 2009.
- Murder at the Vanities, 1934 American film based on Earl Carroll's Vanities Broadway revue
- Lortel database Internet Off-Broadway Database
- Klein, Alvin, "The New York Times", p. LI 13, August 17, 1980, "The House That 'Vanities' Built" "Vanities"...closed off Broadway two weeks ago, setting the record as its longest-running nonmusical"
- American Theater Guide
- "'Vanities' listing, 1981 Internet Movie Database, retrieved June 9, 2010
- "'Vanities' musical Off-Broadway listing, 2009" Internet Off-Broadway Database listing, retrieved June 9, 2010