Manheim Central to present ‘The Pajama Game’ March 14 -17

By on March 6, 2019

The cast of MC’s “The Pajama Game” at a recent rehearsal.

 

Baron Stage will present “The Pajama Game” Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, March 14, 15, 16 and 17 in the Manheim Central High School auditorium, 400 Adele Ave, Manheim. Performances of the musical will be held at 7:30 p.m. March 14 through 16. A 2 p.m. matinee performance is scheduled for Sunday, March 17.

This musical comedy was awarded the 1955 Tony for Best Musical. In 2006, over half-a-century later, “The Pajama Game” claimed the award for Best Revival of a Musical. The score by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross, the duo known for “Damn Yankees”, features songs and dances that have become musical theatre standards including “Steam Heat” and Hernando’s Hideaway”.

“The Pajama Game” tells the story of Babe Williams, a worker at the Sleep-Tite Pajama Factory and the leader of the union grievance committee, who falls in love with Sid Sorokin, a superintendent who was hired by the factory boss to help oppose the workers’ demand for a pay raise. Their stormy relationship comes to a head when the workers strike for a 7½ cent pay increase, setting off not only a conflict between management and labor, but a battle of the sexes as well.

“I’ve done this show a number of times in my career,” said Baron Stage director Max Hunsicker,” I base my show selection on the students I know I will have and try to play to their strengths. This show is more of a classical musical than we’ve done in the past few years.” (Last year Baron Stage presented “Shrek: The Musical” and in the 2017 production was “Les Mis”.)

Hunsicker said “The Pajama Game” was written in the mid-1950s, and most of the kids weren’t familiar with it. “But they’re having fun with it.” He pointed out that the Baron Stage production is based on the original musical, rather than the 2006 revival.

The production features a cast of 50 students, a 25-member stage crew and a full pit orchestra. The leads have been double-cast to allow for more student participation. The featured players are Taylor Hawkins and Paul Hurst as Sid, Shiloh Harrill and Nina Bonanno as Babe, TJ Faulkner and Ben Gingrich as Hines, Rebekah Mylin and Olivia Walters as Gladys, Jonny Brown and Braden Rounds as Hasler and Sami Maddox and Juliana Gingrich as Mabel.

Hawkins, a Manheim Central senior, described his character, Sid, as “the guy everyone wants to be with”. “By the end of the show, he changes-he figures out how to get the workers their raise,” he explained.

Hawkins said “Hey There”, a song Sid sings in the first act has been a challenge since it’s a bit out of his range, “but I’ve worked on it, and I’ve got it”.

The show has also been a challenge, but in a good way, for Harrill. The Manheim Central senior explained that although she’s performed in a musical before, that role was a minor one rather than a lead. “I’ve struggled with acting and making my face look like I was engaged. I’m a pianist, so I’m used to performing solo before an audience, but with the piano I’m looking at my music not the audience,” Harrill said, “Being onstage as Babe has made me more confident.”

She said she’s also learned a lot of about the time period of the 50s from doing the show. “I’ve really been enjoying this show and meeting new people. It’s a great to have this experience as part of my senior year,” she said.

The curtain goes up on the production March 14. All seats are reserved. Cost is $6 for students and $10 for adults. Tickets may be purchased at the door prior to each performance or on advance ticket sales nights. March 11 and 12 from 630 to 8 p.m. in the high school lobby.

Rochelle Shenk is a correspondent for the Lititz Record Express. She welcomes your comments and questions at RAASHENK@aol.com.

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