On Friday Oct. 22, the Madeleine Wing Adler Theatre had a certain buzz in the atmosphere as the student-performed play, ” The Pajama Game,” opened. The stage was set with vibrant colors and decorated with a border of pajamas, rousing the excitement of the audience as the orchestra began to play. As soon as the character Vernon Hines, played by Douglas Atkins, began the first musical number you knew that you were in for a fun- filled night.
“The Pajama Game” is a romantic comedy set in a small town in the Midwest during the fifties. As the workers of the Sleep-Tite Pajama Factory work harder, they realize they should be paid as much as the workers at other factories. The factory union, led by Prez, seeks to get a pay raise of seven and a half cents an hour, but the strict head of the factory, Myron Hasler, has no intention to grant a raise.
In the midst of the labor dispute, the leader of the Union Grievance Committee, Babe Williams, has an interesting encounter with the new superintendent of the factory, Sid Sorokin, who seems to have sparked a romantic interest. The other girls at the factory have clearly taken notice of the chemistry by teasing Babe, but she continues to reject Sorokin during the song “I’m Not At All in Love.”
Meanwhile, Vernon Hines, the factory timekeeper, tries to squash his jealous ways in regards to his love interest, the company secretary, Gladys Hotchkiss. Sorokin’s secretary Mable tries to help Hines change his ways in a hilarious exchange during the song “I’ll Never Be Jealous Again.”
Prez also stirs up a romantic situation of his own when he attempts to make advances on Gladys at the company picnic, during the song, “Her Is.” Gladys does not take kindly to this but Prez does not give up. He decides to try his luck with Mae, a member of the Grievance Committee, who gives in to his advances during a reprise of “Her Is.”
The romantic exchanges throughout the play between Babe, played by Rebecca Righi, and Sorokin, played by Colin Earyes, helped maintain a serious romantic tone to an otherwise comedy-filled production. The audience was enthralled with the excellent performances from the two, as they kept you on the edge of your seat in wonder of how their relationship would turn out.
The relationship between Hines and Gladys, played by Beth Serowsky, seemed to be a riot to the audience all night as the outlandish pair generated plenty of laughs. The two of them provided hilarious performances throughout the whole play, with Hines stressing his obsession for time, while Gladys panicked every time Hasler would walk into the room. Their relationship reached its comedic peak during the song, “Hernando’s Hideaway,” when the drunken couple came to a head stumbling all over the stage.
Factory union head Prez, played by Frank Schierloh, was another main stay for laughs on the stage due to his promiscuous nature with any woman he encountered. During his performance of “Her Is”, he roused the audience with his persistence of courting Gladys, chasing her all over the stage. As that did not work in his favor, he once again got a rise out of the crowd by performing “Her Is,” but this time his target Mae was wooed by his charm. The romance between Mae and Prez came to a halt at Babe’s house, when Mae becomes sick of the idea of Prez being married to another woman.
Although the comedic performances kept the audience laughing, the performance of the night belonged to the whole crew as they performed “Hernando’s Hideaway,” giving time for all of the members of the play to shine with their singing and dancing. The set took a red and black color change as the silhouettes of actors stood still in the dark nightclub, Hernando’s Hideaway. This excellent dance performance led to a few major plot twists in the play to help set up the conclusion.
The Pajama Game was a very entertaining performance, filled with singing, dancing, romance and plenty of laughs. All of those involved with the production did a great job in providing the audience with a quality performance.
Mark Gionta is a fourth-year with a major in professional studies. He can be reached at MG649676@wcupa.edu.