After playing legendary Vogue editor Diana Vreeland in Stages Repertory Theatre’s successful run of Full Gallop in 1999, Sally Edmundson still can’t shake the iconic character’s influence.
“I’ve carried this character with me for 15 years," she recently told me. "I’ve learned lessons I continue to incorporate in my own life. She managed to find a way where she could keep pursuing her dream, and she had enormous integrity of her vision. She’s a fabulous human to have roaming around in your psyche.”
Aug 6–Sept 14
Stages Repertory Theatre
3201 Allen Pkwy
Full Gallop is an opportunity to view the compelling—and true!—story of this talented and dogged woman rising like a phoenix after the whole world cringed at her fall from fashion grace.
One of the fashion world's most influential figures from the late 1930s to 1971, Vreeland made Anna Wintour look like a kitten. Strong willed and crazy talented, she turned Harper's Bazaar into an international powerhouse and brought Vogue back from the brink of irrelevance through the use of her deft eye for style. The woman was a bastion of brillance, throwing out still-used quotes with a flick of her wrist and a loud guffaw (my favorite: "The bikini is the most important thing since the atom bomb"). She was single-handedly responsible for launching the careers of a few folks you may have heard of (Lauren Bacall, Richard Avedon) in addition to advising history's most stylish first lady (Jackie O.) on how to turn heads.
The one-woman play centers on a dinner party at the home of the demanding-yet-visionary Vreeland after her unceremonious exit from Vogue in 1971. Fired from her position as the world’s most powerful fashion editor, she is determined to get back on top and sees the party as a way to plot her return. Part Mrs. Dalloway–style scamble to get this posh dinner party together with a limited budget (I mean, she did just lose her job), part Vreeland vying for the attention of a wealthy benefactor, this show peeks behind the curtian at a woman who just can't be stopped.
Now reprising her role, Edmundson says she feels an even deeper connection with Vreeland.
“It’s a real gift as an artist to be able to revisit someone this large again. What’s been so tremendous is that this is a completely different play than it was 15 years ago, and I’m a lot closer to 67 than I was 15 years ago. It’s resonating in ways that are so much deeper and I find her situation so much more real.”