Pajama Game at Shaftesbury Theatre Review – See It While You Can

On a very short visit to London my husband and I had the good fortune of seeing Pajama Game currently playing the Shaftesbury Theatre for a limited season closing on September 13, 2014 - See more 

 

This was a terrific production with outstanding singing, exceptional dancing, and great sets, costuming, lighting and sound effects. Originally produced by Frederick Brisson, Robert E. Griffith and Harold S. Prince at the St. James Theatre, New York City, on May 13, 1954, it ran for 1,063 performances, It is now 60 years old. The original Broadway production won three Tony® Awards including the Tony® for Best Musical and later picked up another Tony® for Best Revival of a Musical for its 2006 Broadway revival, which starred Harry Connick Jr. and continued revivals have been enthusiastically greeted. In 1957 a musical film based on the stage musical was released. The principal cast of the Broadway musical repeated their roles for the movie, with the exception of Babe, who was played by Doris Day.

 

With lyrics and music by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross, the show's book was adapted by George Abbott and Richard Bissell from Bissell's novel 7½ Cents.  In fact, this reflection on unions in America is an interesting look at a time in America when unions has relevance and manufacturing was done differently.  Unions could make a difference and robots weren’t doing all the work.  There was a very different expectation when boy meets girl. And the 71/2 cents is 71/2 dollars.

 

 The story takes place in 1950s America.  Love is in the air at the Sleep-Tite Pajama Factory as handsome new Superintendent Sid Sorokin (Michael Xavier) falls head-over-heels for feisty Union rep Babe Williams (Joanna Riding). Sparks fly when the employees are refused a seven-and-a-half cents raise, leaving Sid and Babe deliciously at odds as the temperature rises. . . Come and see if love will, eventually, conquer all.

 

 

This production reunites the award-winning creative team of Sir Richard Eyre and Stephen Mear, whose production of Mary Poppins won the Olivier Award, LA Drama Critics’ Award and Australia’s Helpmann Award for Best Choreography as well as Tony® and Drama Desk Award nominations. With dance arrangements, musical supervision and musical direction by Gareth Valentine, whose production of Anything Goes won the Olivier award for outstanding musical production, this stellar team reminds us of the pedigree of its 1954 original creators: George Abbott, Richard Adler, Jerome Robbins, Hal Prince and Bob Fosse.

 

The songs are wonderful and I heard them in my head, long after I left the show.  They include Hey There, Steam Heat, Hernando's Hideaway, I'm Not at All in Love, Once-a-Year Day, There Once Was a Man, and I'll Never Be Jealous Again and many more. The dancing is outstanding and the chance to see Steam Heat and Hernando’s Hideaway is well worth the price of admission.  Theatre is one of many reasons to come to visit London, and for so much more to see and do check:visitlondon.com

 

Photos: Tristram Kenton

 

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