Monday, February 22, 2016


Dust off your pom poms, gold and maroon if possible, hiding in the back of your closet, from your cheerleading days way back in high school.  They are guaranteed to get you in the right frame of mind for a pep rally, an energetic good spirit fest to marshall the troups.  It’s November 22, 1963 and for Kathy, Joanne and Mary, it’s crucial they perfect their movements on the field for maximum popularity, their own first of all, and for the footmball players too if time permits.

Jack Heifner has fashioned a peek into the lives of a trio of Dallas High School cheerleaders who are consumed with their own image and interests in the comedy “Vanities” happily ensconced on the stage of the Connecticut Cabaret Theatre in Berlin weekends until Saturday, March 26.

The girls, brought to vivacious life by Kristin Iovene, Maria Pompile and Meagan Palmer are totally involved by who and what they are. The play opens with them sitting at a dressing table, one definition of the title. They also possess the qualities of being vain and compulsively buried in self-interest, with no evidence of real values or charitable traits, the other two explanations of vanity.

Even the sudden assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy barely touches their psyches, except if it means the football game, God forbid, will be cancelled.  After all, Kathy, with the help of her best buds, has spent the entire afternoon perfecting their cheers and planning dances, with decorations elaborately composed of chicken wire, rainbows and Kleenex flowers.

Five years later, they are still bonded like Elmer’s Glue, only now they’re finishing college, sorority sisters at Kappa Kappa Gamma.  Joanne is eager to accept her MRS. degree that comes with being a wife and mother, Kathy still thinks being a physical education teacher is her fate, while Mary, always a little promiscuous, is waving her ticket to freedom from her parents, and will soon be off to Europe.

When they reunite six years later, they are each struggling to find a balance and their friendship, framed by a fragile chicken wire structure, is pulling apart at the seams.  There is a definite touch of sadness as we witness their disillusions and disappointing dreams.  They need rallying cries of give me a J, give me an O, give me a Y, but they are silent.

The three actresses are wonderfully true to their personalities and shine under Kris McMurray’s fine direction.  It’s too bad that their fragile companionship didn’t have any “steel magnolias” resilience.  Still visiting with Joanne, Kathy and Mary is an enjoyable education all on its own.

For tickets ($30), call CT Cabaret Theatre, 31 Webster Square Road, Berlin at 860-829-1248 or online at  Performances are Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., with doors opening at 7:15 p.m.  Remember to pack goodies to share at your table or plan to purchase cake and drinks on site.

Follow the journey of girls who detour on the way to adulthood to discover some disturbing truths about themselves and about life along the bumpy road of life.

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