The Pajama Game opens Thursday

Published 3:38 pm Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Pajama Game, a musical comedy set in the 1950s, opens on the stage of the Bainbridge Little Theatre Thursday night.

The Tony Award-winning show first appeared on the Broadway stage in May 1954. Based on the novel “7-1/2 Cents,” by Richard Bissell, the musical score was composed by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross.

Starring in the original show were John Raitt, Janis Paige, Eddie Foy and Carol Haney. In the 1957 film version, Doris Day replaced Paige. The successful stage production enjoyed revivals in 1973 and 2006, when it again received a Tony Award.

BLT theater-goers will be transported to the Sleep Tite Pajama factory during a time when many women were employed in the garment industries and dependent upon the union to protect their rights—a theme that may be familiar to those who made their livelihood in similar workplaces right here in Bainbridge.

As the story unfolds, workers have demanded a 7-1/2-cent per hour pay raise, which the company has denied.

Babe (Amy Wells), the union grievance committee leader, is attempting to negotiate with company officials to get the raise for the hard-working shop girls, even as efficiency expert Vernon Hines (Thad Nifong) urges the girls to work harder and faster.

An unlikely romantic alliance develops between the newly hired plant superintendent, Sid (Sam Higdon), and Babe, as they find themselves on opposing sides in the labor dispute.

Other romantic escapades develop between Hines, who has a thing for Gladys, (Susan Livingston-Higdon) the attractive secretary to the strict head of the company.

The cast includes such BLT veterans as Roger Porter, who plays Old Man Hasler, head of the company; Martha Mobley as Mable, mother hen to the crew; and Rebekah Mann, as Mae, loud-mouthed member of the grievance committee.

It introduces some newcomers: Brian Jacobik, Matthew Hoose and Jacob Jones. Jones plays Prez, head of the union. Shop girls are Laura Cerone, Jenna Chambless, Chelsea Ferrell, Ally Hollingsworth, Emily Hiers, Brittany Morrow, Grace Nettles and Patrice Trower. Male workers are portrayed by Andrew Cooksey, Kevin Cox, Colin Hancock, Mike Love, Joshua Lynn and Kip Nussbaum.

The production is directed by Sam Higdon. Musical director is Michael Inlow and Livingston-Higdon is the choreographer. She has incorporated some of Bob Fosse’s original work into the dance routines. Ariel and Curt Balla, featured dancers from Cairo, perform along with Jacob Higdon, Jackie King and Phil Ancheta.

Some of the more familiar musical numbers in the score are: “Hey There,” “Steam Heat” and “Hernando’s Hideaway.”

This BLT spring musical production of The Pajama Game is dedicated to the memory of BLT patron Charlotte Kwilecki. Martha Mobley, chairman of the BLT board of directors and long-time friend of Kwilecki’s said, “Pajama Game was Charlotte’s favorite show and she always wanted us to do it.”

The Pajama Game runs Thursday, March 5 through 8, and again March 12 through 14. Thursday through Saturday performances begin at 8 p.m. Sunday matinees are 2:30.

For reservations call (229) 246-8345, or contact bainbridgelittletheatre@gmail.com for more information.