Vanities, a 1979 play by Jack Heifner that had a five-year off-Broadway run, focuses on three moments in the lives of three young women, first as high school cheerleaders in rural Texas, then five years later at college, and then a reunion in New York City after another five years. The musical version, with music and lyrics by David Kirshenbaum and book by Heifner, had an off-Broadway run of less than a month in the summer of 2009. The origianl play ends on a down note, with the women driven apart by their growing differences, but the musical adds a happy reconciliation back in Texas 20 years later. Kirshenbaum's lyrics and music reflect the tendency to brighten up the show. The structure of the show would seem to invite exploitation of the musical styles of the times, 1963, 1968, and 1973, but apart from several soulful ballads, the bubbly music seldom strays from the relentless perkiness of the generic Broadway pop of the last few decades of the 20th century. The tunes are nice and the lyrics clever, but they all sound like something heard many times before. The performers on this original cast album, Lauren Kennedy, Sarah Stiles, and Anneliese van der Pol, sing and act with plenty of style and polish, and their appealing characterizations are sharply drawn. Lynne Shankel's orchestrations for the eight-member band are effective and often witty.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Eddins