THE PAJAMA GAME, a sweet and funny musical by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross, appears at West Chester University through October 30, 2010. Completed in 2006, the state-of–the-art Madeline Wing Adler Theatre seats up to 375 people. The show is like a visual candy store: oversized, colorful sets by Dirk Durossette and cheerful costumes by Joan Mary Morgan set the tone for this up-beat show. Director Emily Rogge keeps the pace of the show moving, making excellent use of the stage. Gina Giachero directs a small, effective orchestra. The choreography by Liz Staruch is hip, sassy, and perfect for this 1950’s gem.
Themes of factory worker exploitation, sexual harassment and union politics keep the show fresh and current. Sid Sorokin (Colin Earyes), the new supervisor at the Sleep-Tite Pajama factory, finds himself swept away by the “grievance committee” of one: Babe Williams (Rebecca Righi). As personal and political become hopelessly intertwined, Sid and Babe’s romance falters. Earyes and Righi do an excellent job carrying the bulk of the show. Projecting with a mellow tone, Earyes sings one of Broadway’s most famous and beloved songs, Hey There.
Douglas Atkins plays the heartless Vernon Hines. He is the man in charge of “efficiency” in this factory where pajamas are churned out at record speed, and a giant clock looms overhead, keeping the workers on task. Atkins’ campy, slapstick performance is hilarious. His song and dance duet I’ll Never be Jealous Again with Mabel (Whitney Hayes) is crisp and entertaining. Hayes is one of the strongest performers in the production-a delight to watch.
As Gladys Hotchkiss, Beth Serowsky is riotously funny – a true comedienne. Her goofy, lusty tango in Hernando’s Hideaway and her drunken dialogue tickled the audience. Frank Schlierloh as Prez is horribly lecherous in Her Is. He first hits on Gladys, trying to assure her he barely talks to his wife. When that exchange doesn’t pan out, he decides to go after Mae in the song’s reprise.
The trio Steam Heat (Nina Filipowich, Malik Muhammad and Benjamin Cramer) a crisp, peppy dance number that hearkened back to the “old Broadway” is a crowd pleaser. The entire cast works beautifully together, and the joy translates into pure entertainment!
THE PAJAMA GAME
Music & Lyrics by Richard Adler & Jerry Ross
Book by George Abbott & Richard Bissell
Directed by Emily Rogge
October 22 – 30, 2010
West Chester University
Madeleine Wing Adler Theatre
Swope Performing Arts Center
West Chester, PA