Music and pajamas always go well together.
When I think musical, I tend to think big and boisterous—not something you would you expect in a smaller theater. This isn’t a problem for director Jess McCloud, along with founding artistic director and choreographer Jessica Redish.
Sarah Bockel and David Sajewich do a fantastic job on a small stage as the romantic leads, union grievance committee head Babe Williams and superintendent Sid Sorokin, both working for the Sleep-Tite pajama factory.
Dissention among the rank and file is the catalyst for these two characters to fall in love—and struggle with their professional allegiances—during the play. The ensemble does a terrific job suporting the story, with Jason Richards particularly perfect as Hines, the factory’s human stopwatch. Babe’s line cohorts Kelley Abell, Allyson Graves and Kelly Davis Wilson are outstanding in tandem when on stage, and they shine individually as well. Donald Brearley multi-tasks as both the nefarious company president Mr. Hasler and as Babe’s stamp-lovin’ father.
Singing, fancy footwork, acting … all were highly entertaining. It’s the book that creates a little discomfort for the audience. Dana Tretta is splendid as Mr. Hasler’s keeper of the ledger key, yet with just a brief mention in the first act, its role in the conclusion seems a little awkward. The same can be said for Mabel (a fantastic Nancy Kolton)—someone who works for Mr. Hasler and Sid and appears to harbor deeper knowledge of the boss than the audience is privy to. It’s as if the second act is missing a scene, or at least the expansion of a final confrontation between Sid and Mr. Hasler over the most troublesome 7-and-a-half cents.
If you can look past a pat ending, you would be remiss to pass up top-notch theater without the trip downtown.
“The Pajama Game” runs through May 19 at 1850 Green Bay Rd. in Highland Park. Performances are Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets cost $32 for students and seniors, and $40 for the general public. You can purchase tickets online or by calling 847-579-4900.