SCAD Presents "Savannah Songs," A Musical Tour Through Time
Photos provided by SCAD
History came alive at The Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) this past weekend. The university celebrated its 40th anniversary, honoring Georgia Day, with "Savannah Songs," a unique, interactive live performance experience. Students from the university’s award-winning performing arts programs showcased the city’s remarkable historical legacy.
“’Savannah Songs’ celebrates Georgia Day 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 sings tour guests from place to historic place, all in honor of Georgia Day. 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.”
“Savannah Songs” took place Friday, February 1 and Saturday, February 2, 2019. Over 60 SCAD students from a range of programs brought the “Savannah Songs” performance to life. The students came from programs including performing arts, dramatic writing, preservation design, interior design, costume design and sound design. “Savannah Songs” took audiences on an hour-long “musical tour through time” showcasing the city’s storied past from the 1920s, ‘40s, ‘50s and ‘60s.
This multi-site musical tableau showcased incomparable moments in the history of the city of Savannah. The biennial celebration recognized the culture and history of the city, and provided a unique opportunity to tour four distinctive venues within SCAD's preservation footprint.
Guests of “Savannah Songs” will began their experience at Trustees Theater, then proceeded across Broughton Street to Gutstein Gallery, followed by Jen Library and concluding at the Lucas Theater. All locations featured interactive participation between guests and SCAD students.
Trustees Theater took the audience back to the 1940s, the decade in which it was built. The performers dressed as members of the Mighty Eighth Air Force who have just returned home from World War II. They were joined by fellow performers portraying wives and domestic partners who were working in Savannah shipyards, factories and victory gardens during the war.
Gutstein Gallery took guests to the 1960s, when the space was 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 had the opportunity to learn even more about the day of that historic sit-in.
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” attendees enjoyed a spectacular vaudeville performance and bags of popular candy from that era.
After the Savannah Songs performance, the audiences were invited to visit the Women’s Hall of Fame in historic Arnold Hall and pay tribute to Savannah Women of Vision. The investiture, created by SCAD alumnus Michael Porten, features large, classic bas-relief sculptural portraits of extraordinary Georgia heroines who helped shape Savannah through exemplary character and unparalleled achievements.
About SCAD School of Entertainment Arts
The SCAD School of Entertainment Arts incorporates a diverse array of degree programs designed to guide students as they master the art forms and industries that amuse, entertain and inspire. Cutting-edge resources and equipment in every department, coupled with an experienced, acclaimed faculty, facilitate student development in these highly relevant fields. Programs feature curricula that bolster students' creative visions while providing a sound basis in both theory and practice, creating the entertainment industry leaders of tomorrow. Degree programs for the award-winning School of Entertainment Arts include dramatic writing, film and television, performing arts, production design, sound design and themed entertainment design. SCAD also has the only on-site, professionally run casting office in higher education, which connects SCAD actors to productions in the powerhouse film and television industry in Georgia and beyond.