Broadway? Wait Until You See the Highland Park Players’ Production of The Pajama Game!

by Tom Recht

Last Sunday afternoon, October 22, I found myself at an absolutely terrific production of the stage musical, The Pajama Game. This great 1955 Tony Award winner has been brought back to glowing life by Highland Park Players at the Northbrook Theater, so close to where I live that the excellence of the production was startling.

Because the romantic comedy pits labor against management, and the finale celebrates the union’s obtaining a 7 ½ cent raise, Tenth Dems organized a group to see the show, with a director’s talk-back to follow. The entire audience, including many hardcore Broadway musical aficionados, was vocally appreciative of the performance—nearly giddy with delight.

The story of a labor dispute at the Sleep-Tite Pajama Factory over a raise in hourly pay provides a neat backdrop for the romance between Sid, a new supervisor, and Babe, the head of the union grievance committee. Of course, it also contributes plenty of comic material for the other pajama factory employees – all oddballs of one sort or another. The songs are, every one of them, catchy and memorable, even to those who may not have heard them before, although some will be surprised to hear old favorites they didn’t know were from this show. And if you’re looking for resonance with today’s issues, think not only of the fight to increase the minimum wage, but also of our growing awareness of sexual harassment in the workplace.

You won’t find many surprises in the plot, for we’ve all seen this one’s scaffolding a hundred times before—boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy and girl reconcile and marry. So it’s up to the actors to bring these characters to life, and the Highland Park Players cast is brim-full of marvelous actor-singer-dancers who do just that. In the main roles, Trevor Vanderzee as Sid and Hannah Rose as Babe have fantastic voices and tons of charm. The, secondary roles are all played by excellent character actors who evoke lots of laughter and sing beautifully, too. And the entire ensemble does a remarkable job of nailing both the intricate choreography and multi-layered vocal arrangements.

Did I mention that there’s a live, orchestra with 18 musicians? Led by musical director Aaron Kaplan, they’re terrific. The choreography by Dina DiCostanzo is outstanding, too. Costumes and sets are simple and perfect with a polished, professional look. The director, Dominic Missimi, has done a highly commendable job of pulling all these parts together into a unified and compelling whole.

The production runs only through November 5th, so I strongly recommend that anyone interested get tickets now!

Join us! Help elect Democrats in our area:

The Tenth Dems blog is intended to be a forum that builds community and provides for respectful and healthy exchange of ideas. We are open to different points of view and hope that all of our readers will feel comfortable engaging in conversation. Opinions expressed on this website belong to their respective authors, and publication does not necessarily imply endorsement by the Tenth Congressional District Democrats. Inappropriate comments may be deleted.