Connelly School of the Holy Child The Pajama GameBy Cappies • Mar 14th, 2014 • Category: Cappies
Life can be difficult for 1950s factory workers who are constantly “racing with the clock.” But when workers unite for a common purpose they are an unstoppable force; almost as unstoppable as the dynamic energy of Connelly School of the Holy Child’s The Pajama Game.
The Pajama Game, based on the novel “7 1/2 Cents” by Richard Bissell, opened on Broadway in 1954. It ran for over 1,000 performances and won the Tony Award for Best Musical. The show was revived in both 1973 and 2006, achieving rave reviews and a Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical in 2006. Because of its great appeal, the show has become a popular choice for many school and community theatres and a classic favorite.
The story follows a group of seamstresses, secretaries, and factory workers all desperate for a 7 1/2 cent raise and recognition from their superiors. Amidst the power struggle, a romance blossoms between the union grievance Committee leader, Catherine “Babe” Williams (India Upton) and the factory superintendent, Sid Sorokin (Andrew Myers). The rest of the cast of quirky characters engages in both love affairs and conflicts of their own, unfolding an eventful storyline that keeps the audience on their toes.
The stage was set in the school’s gymnasium with scenery that shone above all other technical elements of the show. The sets, designed by Ren McFaden, Andrea Manchester, and Becky Ward, featured vibrant backgrounds such as the interior of the Sleep Tite factory and detailed office scenery. The costumes were consistent with the bright color schemes, and these elements together created the lively 1950s atmosphere.
The actors also managed to keep up with the 1954 setting, giving performances with accurate mannerisms of the time period. John Anderson, the comedic standout of the show, portrayed the boisterous Vernon Hines with impressive physicality that served the development of his humorous character. The endearing song between Hines and Mabel (Becca Rizkalla), “I’ll Never Be Jealous Again” was a highlight of the production, and demonstrated the comedic abilities of both actors and left the audience wanting more. Another notable number was “Once a Year Day,” an explosion of energy onstage that displayed the many talented dancers in the cast.
The high points of the show were when the entire ensemble was onstage. Their uniformed belting tone brought the house down in songs such as “Racing with the Clock” and “7 1/2 Cents.” With a remarkable sound and full commitment from every single “seamstress” or “factory worker,” these ladies had a powerful presence that carried the story. The Pajama Game was a perfect choice for an all-girls school; the strong female characters were the force that gave the show its drive and spunk.
Above all, the production delivered messages of perseverance and love that are as relevant today as they were 60 years ago. Each and every cast and crew member clearly could “hardly wait to wake and get to work” on this show, and their commitment paid off. Charming, jovial and fun, Connelly School of the Holy Child’s The Pajama Game left the audience feeling optimistic and ready to start “living like a king.”
by Nikki Amico of West Potomac High School
Photos by Stone Photography
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