Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) presented “Savannah Songs,” a unique, interactive live performance experience showcasing the city of Savannah’s remarkable historical legacy. By embracing the city’s remarkable history, SCAD students and “Savannah Songs” point the way to a luminous future.
“’Savannah Songs’ celebrates history in a uniquely SCAD way — through music, story, and plenty of pizzazz, all performed by SCAD students for our community,” said SCAD president and founder Paula Wallace. “’Savannah Songs’ is a time-travel musical, an hour-long party that literally singstour guests from place to historic place. This year, SCAD’s immersive performances vivify our city’s rich history from the 1920s to the ‘60s — a time of memorable music and magnificent architecture, too. We hope everyone will come!”
“Savannah Songs” took place Friday, Feb. 1 and Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019. SCAD performing arts students from the university’s top-ranked School of Entertainment Arts, including Season 12 American Idol Winner Candice Glover, took audiences on an hourlong “musical tour through time” showcasing Savannah’s storied past from the 1920s, ‘40s, ‘50s and ‘60s. All seven performances were sold out.
Glover, who is studying dramatic writing at SCAD, starred in the 60s performance. The performance took place at SCAD’s Gutstein Gallery, which was once the Azalea Room restaurant adjoining the former Levy’s department store. On March 16, 1960 three African-American high school students took part in a sit-in at the whites-only lunch counter. This was one of the first steps that ultimately led to desegregation in Savannah, as commemorated by a Georgia Historical Society plaque The Georgia Civil Rights Trail: The Savannah Protest Movement. “Savannah Songs” guests learned more about the day of that historic sit-in. Glover moved the audience singing “We Shall Overcome” and “I Know Where I’ve Been,” standing next to the actual lunch counter chairs used during the sit-in.
Guests of “Savannah Songs” also also toured Trustees Theater, Jen Library and the Lucas Theater. All locations featured interactive participation between guests and SCAD students.
Over 120 SCAD students worked together from a range of degree programs including performing arts, dramatic writing, preservation design, interior design and costume design to bring the “Savannah Songs” performance to life. Guests joined SCAD student performers to celebrate that opening night.
Trustees Theater, which opened February 14, 1946, took the audience back to the 1940s. The performers dressed as members of the Mighty Eighth Air Force who had just returned home from World War II. They were joined by fellow performers portraying wives and domestic partners who worked in Savannah shipyards, factories and victory gardens during the war.
The Jen Library, formerly Levy’s, showcased the 1950s. The department store was once the most popular and stylish place in Savannah to buy dresses and other clothing. Guests were treated to a sock-hop performance and got a glimpse of vintage dresses from SCAD’s permanent collection.
The Lucas Theater, the last stop of the tour, opened in 1921. “Savannah Songs” guests were entertained by a spectacular vaudeville performance and received bags of popular candy from that era.