What makes a magnificent musical theatre production come to life?
For starters, it contains memorable characters that really immerse you into the fiction of what is happening in each scene.
Secondly, the story is both easy to understand, yet intriguing from scene to scene as characters evolve, becoming more intricate as the play approaches its inevitable climax.
Finally, the songs must be performed with careful emotion and with a voice that is able to convey what is happening in the scene with near perfection.
While “Pajama Game” falls short on a few of these expectations, it still manages to put on a pretty good show.
The story revolves around a pajama-producing factory that is struggling to compensate its workers who spend countless hours sewing and knitting new pajamas without pause.
Of course, shortly after the main plot is put into place, another one follows suit that involves two co-workers who have a “love at first sight” interaction.
Babe (Sarah Tilford) works for the grievance committee, and Sid (David Jackson) works for the company as the superintendent who oversees how the company is functioning, making sure everyone is doing their job. They fall in love and begin dating within a few scenes.
Sid has less singing roles than some of the supporting actors. He looks a little out of place during the parts when he’s attempting to swoon Babe. It doesn’t feel so much genuine as it does forced. More energy could have also been put into Babe’s parts with more vocal power than was displayed.
However, this leaves room for some of the minor characters to show what they’re made of, and oh boy do they ever.
For the most part, every character from Hines (Drew Overcash) to Babe’s father, Pop (Julian Stroop), is able to convey his role almost perfectly, making the scenes both engaging and exhilarating.
Of course, the show stealer was undoubtedly that of the seductive Prez (Marlon Washington) who literally tries to sleep with every woman he can and goes so far as to serenade them with the catchy song “Her Is.”
It makes for some pretty hilarious antics which had me laughing out loud at nearly every moment Prez was onstage. It was great to watch him try to figure out what act of perversion he would commit next.
Again, the show tunes are also at their best when performed by the minor characters, especially “Hernando’s Hideaway” which was, by far, my favorite song of the show. The choreography was unique and seamlessly performed, and the superb lighting really helped set the mood.
The backgrounds were decently created for the purpose of the show but didn’t really wow me in any way, due to the environment’s very basic color palette. It gets the job done though, and provides at least some localizing scenery for the characters to interact in throughout the play.
In the end, the play could have been executed a lot better if the main characters had been more dedicated to their roles, putting forth more effort in conveying the emotion that was meant to be displayed in each individual scene between these supposedly entranced lovers.
That, combined with some background issues that caused unwanted distractions during the show, brought the play down at times.
However, a superb supporting cast does more than enough to bring this musical back up on its feet and make for a pretty good show that will surprise you in more ways than one.