The Pajama Game

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The Pajama Game
ThePajamaGame1954.jpg
Original Broadway Windowcard, illustrated by Peter Arno
MusicRichard Adler
Jerry Ross
LyricsRichard Adler
Jerry Ross
BookGeorge Abbott
Richard Bissell
BasisNovel 7-1/2 Cents by
Richard Bissell
PremiereMay 13, 1954 – Shubert Theatre, New York City
Productions1954 Broadway
1957 film
1973 Broadway Revival
2006 Broadway Revival
2014 West End
AwardsTony Award for Best Musical
Tony Award for Best Revival
 
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This article is about the stage musical. For other uses, see The Pajama Game (disambiguation).
The Pajama Game
ThePajamaGame1954.jpg
Original Broadway Windowcard, illustrated by Peter Arno
MusicRichard Adler
Jerry Ross
LyricsRichard Adler
Jerry Ross
BookGeorge Abbott
Richard Bissell
BasisNovel 7-1/2 Cents by
Richard Bissell
PremiereMay 13, 1954 – Shubert Theatre, New York City
Productions1954 Broadway
1957 film
1973 Broadway Revival
2006 Broadway Revival
2014 West End
AwardsTony Award for Best Musical
Tony Award for Best Revival

The Pajama Game is a musical based on the novel 7½ Cents by Richard Bissell. The book is by George Abbott and Richard Bissell; the music and Lyrics are by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross. The story deals with labor troubles in a pajama factory, where worker demands for a seven-and-a-half cent raise are going unheeded. In the midst of this ordeal, love blossoms between Babe, the grievance committee head, and Sid, the new factory superintendent.

The original Broadway production opened on May 13, 1954, and ran for 1,063 performances. It was revived in 1973, and again in 2006 by The Roundabout Theatre Company. The original production won a Tony for Best Musical, and the 2006 Broadway revival won a Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical. The musical is a popular choice for community and school group productions.

The original London West End production opened at the London Coliseum on October 13, 1955 where it ran for 588 performances.

Characters[edit]

Plot[edit]

Act I

A strike is imminent at the Sleep-Tite Pajama Factory, where the workers churn out pajamas at a backbreaking pace ("Racing with the Clock"). In the middle of this, a new superintendent, Sid Sorokin, has come from out of town to work in the factory ("A New Town Is a Blue Town"). The union, led by Prez, is seeking a wage raise of seven and a half cents an hour. Sid and Babe are in opposite camps, yet romantic interest is sparked at their first encounter. Despite cajoling from her fellow garment workers, Babe appears to reject Sid ("I'm Not At All in Love"). Meanwhile, Hines, the popular efficiency expert, is in love with Gladys, the company president's secretary, but is pushing her away with his jealous behavior. After witnessing a fight between the couple, Sid's secretary, Mabel, tries to help Hines break from his jealous ways ("I'll Never Be Jealous Again"). Meanwhile, Sid, rejected again by Babe, is forced to confide his feelings to a dictaphone ("Hey There").

During the annual company picnic, kicked off with the official Sleep-Tite Company Anthem, Prez chases after Gladys, who rejects his advances ("Her Is"), a drunken Hines demonstrates his knife throwing act (these knives are thrown at Babe), and Babe warms up to Sid ("Once a Year Day"). As the picnic-goers head home, Prez turns his attentions to Mae, who responds in the positive far more quickly and aggressively than he'd expected ("Her Is (Reprise)"). At Babe's home, Sid's romantic overtures are deflected by Babe, who makes casual conversation on tangential subjects ("Small Talk"). Eventually the walls come down between the two, who admit their love for one another ("There Once Was a Man"), but their estrangement is reinforced when they return to the factory. A slow-down is staged by the union, strongly supported by Babe ("Racing with the Clock (Reprise)"). Sid, as factory superintendent, demands an "honest day's work" and threatens to fire slackers. Babe, however, is still determined to fight for their cause, and kicks her foot into the machinery, causes a general breakdown and Sid reluctantly fires her. As she leaves, he begins to wonder again whether a romance with her is a mistake ("Hey There (Reprise)").

Act II

At the Union meeting, Gladys (Mae in the 2006 revival) performs for the rest of the union, with "the boys from the cutting room floor" ("Steam Heat"). After the main meeting, the Grievance Committee meets at Babe's house, to discuss further tactics, such as mismatching sizes of pajamas and sewing the fly-buttons onto the bottoms such that they are likely to come off and leave their wearer pants-less. At the meeting, as Prez and Mae's relationship is waning, Sid arrives and tries to smooth things over with Babe. Despite her feelings for Sid, she pushes him away ("Hey There (Reprise)").

Back at the factory, the girls reassure Hines, who is personally offended by the slow down ("Think of the Time I Save"). Sid, now convinced that Babe's championship of the union is justified, takes Gladys out for the evening to a night club, "Hernando's Hideaway" (Hernando's Hideaway), where he wheedles the key to the company's books from her. Hines and Babe each discover the pair and assume they are becoming romantically involved. Babe storms out, and Hines believes his jealous imaginings have come true ("I'll Never Be Jealous Again Ballet").

Using Gladys' key, Sid accesses the firm's books and discovers that the boss, Hasler, has already tacked on the extra seven and one-half cents to the production cost, but has kept all the extra profits for himself.

In Gladys' office, Hines, still jealous out of his mind, flings knives past Sid and Gladys (deliberately missing, he claims), narrowly missing an increasingly paranoid Mr. Hasler. After detaining Hines, Sid then brings about Hasler's consent to a pay raise and rushes to bring the news to the Union Rally, already in progress ("7½ Cents"). This news brings peace to the factory and to his love life, allowing him to reconnect with Babe ("There Once Was a Man (Reprise)"). Everyone goes out to celebrate—at Hernando's Hideaway ("Pajama Game").[1]

Musical numbers[edit]

Notes on the music[edit]

Two of the songs, 'There Once Was a Man' and 'A New Town Is a Blue Town,' were actually written by Frank Loesser, although they were uncredited.[2]

"Hernando's Hideaway"[edit]

For the 2006 revival, Harry Connick, Jr., played the piano, when Gladys (Megan Lawrence), Sid, and Company were on stage for "Hernando's Hideaway". "The length and form of the song remain steady," Kathleen Marshall said, "but he can improvise within it."

"Steam Heat"[edit]

In the original production, and in the film version, the famed dance number "Steam Heat" was danced by Gladys. In the 2006 revival, the number was made with Mae (Joyce Chittick), instead of Gladys. Kathleen Marshall explains: "Hines accuses Gladys of being a flirt, and she's not. So does it make sense that she'd go and strut her stuff in front of the whole union? Hines would say, 'Aha, you floozy, I caught you!' Also, she's the boss's secretary, so why would she be at a union meeting? I think it's much more fun that Gladys doesn't really let go until she goes out with Sid, gets real drunk, and throws caution to the wind."

New songs for the 2006 revival[edit]

"The Three of Us (Me, Myself and I)"[edit]

Words & music by Richard Adler; in 2006, Hines (Michael McKean) performed the new number, "The Three of Us" at show's end with Gladys (Megan Lawrence). At the time of the revival, Adler was quoted as saying that he wrote the song for Jimmy Durante in 1964. "It was written for Jimmy Durante," says McKean, "and Durante used to do it in his act, but he never recorded it, so it’s kind of an orphan." The song was actually featured in the 1966 television musical, Olympus 7-000, part of the ABC Stage 67 series which also produced Stephen Sondheim's Evening Primrose. Eddie Foy, Jr. (who had played Hines in the original Broadway and movie versions of The Pajama Game) introduced the song in Olympus 7-000 and can be heard singing it on the Command Records soundtrack album. Donald O'Connor, Larry Blyden and Phyllis Newman also starred in the TV special with Foy.

"The World Around Us"[edit]

"The World Around Us" was part of the 1954 Broadway previews and opening, but was dropped during the first week of the Broadway run, replaced by Babe's reprise of "Hey There". This would leave Sid with no songs in the second act, aside from the reprise of "There Once was a Man". The number was restored for the 2006 Broadway revival, allowing star Harry Connick, Jr., to have a second-act song.

"If You Win, You Lose"[edit]

Words & music by Richard Adler; for the 1973 revival, in place of the second-act "Hey There" reprise, there was a new song, "Watch Your Heart". Retitled "If You Win, You Lose", the song has been heard in recent productions of the show and was heard in the 2006 Broadway production.

Production history[edit]

The Pajama Game (2006)

Original Broadway[edit]

The original Broadway production opened on May 13, 1954, and closed on November 24, 1956, after 1,063 performances. It was directed by George Abbott and Jerome Robbins and featured choreography by Bob Fosse. The original cast included John Raitt, Janis Paige, Eddie Foy, Jr., Carol Haney, and Stanley Prager.

This production is also noted for starting the career of Shirley MacLaine. A relative unknown at the time, she was selected to understudy Carol Haney's role. MacLaine filled the role for several months, as Haney was out of commission with a broken ankle. Director/producer Hal B. Wallis was an audience member at one of MacLaine's performances, and signed her as a contract player for Paramount Pictures.

Original London[edit]

The Pajama Game opened in London at the Coliseum on 13 October 1955 and ran for 588 performances - an undoubted hit. Edmund Hockridge played Sid Sorokin and Joy Nichols played Babe Williams. Max Wall, in a rare outing to the musical stage, played Hines, Elizabeth Seal, who later found stardom playing the lead role in Irma La Douce, played Gladys, and Frank Lawless played Prez,

Film, 1957[edit]

The film version was released by Warner Bros. in 1957 and featured the original stage cast except for Janis Paige, who was replaced by Doris Day.

Broadway revival, 1973[edit]

A Broadway revival opened on December 9, 1973, at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, but it closed on February 3, 1974, after just 65 performances. It was directed by George Abbott, one of the two directors of the original production in 1954, with choreography by Zoya Leporska. The cast included Hal Linden, Barbara McNair, and Cab Calloway as Hines.

Broadway, 2006[edit]

The Roundabout Theatre Company revival, produced by special arrangement with Jeffrey Richards, James Fuld, Jr. and Scott Landis, opened on February 23, 2006 and closed on June 17, 2006, after 129 performances (and 41 previews). Kathleen Marshall was choreographer and director, with a cast starring Harry Connick, Jr., making his Broadway acting debut as Sid, Kelli O'Hara as Babe, Michael McKean as Hines and Megan Lawrence as Gladys. The revival included three added songs, by Richard Adler. The original book by George Abbott and Richard Bissell was revised by Peter Ackerman (screenwriter Ice Age)

Chichester Festival Theatre & West End, 2013/2014[edit]

Directed by Richard Eyre, the UK 2013 revival of The Pajama Game began at Chichester's Minerva Theatre.[3] The production includes Gary Wilmot and is being crowd funded on the startup investment platform Seedrs.

The Pajama Game made its opening on the West End in the Shaftesbury Theatre in May 2014. The production received positive reviews from a number of national media outlets.[4] [5] [6]

The musical is on a limited 21 week run, closing in September 2014.

Awards and nominations[edit]

Original Broadway production[edit]

YearAward CeremonyCategoryNomineeResult
1955Tony AwardBest MusicalWon
Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a MusicalCarol HaneyWon
Best ChoreographyBob FosseWon

2006 Broadway revival[edit]

YearAward CeremonyCategoryNomineeResult
2006Drama Desk AwardOutstanding Revival of a MusicalNominated
Outstanding Actor in a MusicalHarry Connick, Jr.Nominated
Outstanding Actress in a MusicalKelli O'HaraNominated
Outstanding Director of a MusicalKathleen MarshallNominated
Outstanding ChoreographyWon
Outstanding OrchestrationsDanny Troob and Dick LiebNominated
Outstanding Sound DesignBrian RonanNominated
Outer Critics Circle AwardOutstanding Revival of a MusicalNominated
Outstanding Actor in a MusicalHarry Connick, Jr.Nominated
Outstanding Actress in a MusicalKelli O'HaraNominated
Outstanding Featured Actor in a MusicalPeter BensonNominated
Outstanding Featured Actress in a MusicalMegan LawrenceNominated
Outstanding Direction of a MusicalKathleen MarshallNominated
Outstanding ChoreographyWon
Outstanding Costume DesignMartin PakledinazNominated
Theatre World AwardHarry Connick, Jr.Won
Tony AwardBest Revival of a MusicalWon
Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a MusicalHarry Connick, Jr.Nominated
Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a MusicalKelli O'HaraNominated
Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a MusicalMegan LawrenceNominated
Best Direction of a MusicalKathleen MarshallNominated
Best ChoreographyWon
Best OrchestrationsDick Lieb and Danny TroobNominated
Best Scenic DesignDerek McLaneNominated
Best Costume DesignMartin PakledinazNominated

Recordings[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Pajama Game at the Guide to Musical Theatre
  2. ^ The Pajama Game - John Raitt Remembers. Mkstage.com. Retrieved on 2013-09-05.
  3. ^ http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/gary-wilmot-im-delighted-to-be-back-on-the-west-end-stage-for-the-pajama-game-9125404.html
  4. ^ Billington, Michael (13 May 2014). "The Pajama Game review – passion collides with politics in dynamic revival". Retrieved 23 May 2014. 
  5. ^ Willmott, Phil (23 May 2014). "The Pajama Game Review". Retrieved 23 May 2014. 
  6. ^ Spencer, Charles (14 May 2014). "The Pajama Game, Shaftesbury Theatre, review: 'pure pleasure'". Retrieved 23 May 2014. 

External links[edit]