The Pajama Game opened in 1955 and ran 1083 performances. It won three Tonys (for Best Musical, for Carol Haney as Best Featured actress, and for Bob Fosse’s choreography). The musical was revived in 2006 and won another Tony for Best Revival of a Musical. A popular movie was made in 1957 starring Doris Day. I promptly fell in love with her. The show is currently getting a decent rerival by Downey Civic Light Opera under the direction Marsha Moode.
The Pajama Game seems quite dated now, although the struggle to destroy unions is currently in the news. But as Marsha Moode says “who wears pajamas anymore?” I am convinced the only reason the 2006 revival did so well was the presence of a bare-chested Harry Connick Junior.
The current production has a few problems, mainly in pacing (too slow) and the fact that there are only a few dancers in the cast, but most get by doing a waltz. Three cast members do “Steam Heat” using Bob Fosse’s original choreography and the number is greatly appreciated. Michael Dotson plays Sid the new superintendant. He is a handsome fellow (though no bare-chest) and his voice is glorious to listen too. His leading lady is Karen Volpe who has quite a belt. Ed Krieger, a veteran of Downey CLO, plays the boss Hasler. One small role that deserves mention is Michael McGreal as Pop, who is very believable in the role. Karl Schott plays Hines and Nicole Manly is his Gladys.
Eddy Clement was the musical director and conductor. The orchestra sounded grand under his direction as they played the now familiar hits from the show, “I’m Not at all in Love,” “Hernando’s Hideaway,” “Hey There,” and the beautiful “A New Town is a Blue Town.” The Pajama Game will play two more weekends until June 17 at Downey CLO.