Archive for Thursday, November 10, 2005

Winning the pajama game

Musical sings about love, pajamas, factory work and the romance in between

November 10, 2005

Starting Thursday, "The Pajama Game," will begin.

The "Game," based on a book by George Abbot and Richard Bissel, is this year's fall play at Eudora High School, and tells the tale of two star-crossed and cross-stitched lovers who are at opposite sides of a labor dispute in a pajama factory.

The play tackles several hot button issues ---- at least issues that were hot button in the 1950s.

Chief among the issues is the role labor unions and factory workers played in the middle part of the last century. This play explores the question through song, wild dance numbers and a spirit of fun.

"What I found most interesting about the show is that it's a really up beat show and it has a lot of positive messages for young women and also about standing up for what you believe," said the show's director and vocal music instructor Angela Yarnell. "At the same time, it addresses it in a fun way."

The production brings together senior Amanda Gordon and junior Paul Chaffin as the two leads: Babe Williams and Sid Sorokin, respectively.

Sorokin is the Sleep Tite pajama plant's new foreman, and he strikes up an unlikely romance with Williams who represents the plant's grievance committee.

The two characters meet on the basis of a grievance but are torn apart when Sorokin chooses to side with the plant's Boss Hasler and Williams supports the plant worker's union over a seven-and-a-half cent raise.

The raise is core to the musical's plot and the character's lives. At one point in the play, the characters rhapsodize on what they would do if they had that extra pay in the song, "Seven and a Half Cents."

The torn emotions reflect in Sorokin, who Chaffin describes as "cocky."

"You just have to become your character," Chaffin said. "You have to feel his emotions."

Gordon said she could relate to her character.

Williams is spunky, but Gordon also sees the conflict.

"It's really choosing love or what you believe in," Gordon said.

Although situational forces pull at both Williams and Sorokin, because of his character's attitude, Chaffin finds a different problem.

"It was kind of hard playing someone I'd like to punch in the face," Chaffin said.

The musical follows Sorokin and Williams as they drift closer and further apart while the crew at Sleep Tite work to win their raise.

Playgoers will see the ensemble cast strut their stuff in several large dance scenes choreographed by Shannon Pickett.

One scene brings the entire cast together during a company picnic. It evolves into a spinning and twirling extravaganza as the cast belts out the song "Once a Year Day."

Accompanist Helen Hawley will translate the music and lyrics originally written by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross.

"This show is quite a challenge for us, and an undertaking and I think they are meeting the challenge quite well," Yarnell said.

The cast returns for other scenes en masse including a Spanish-themed nightclub, Hernando's Hideaway.

This year's musical showcases the student's dramatic ability and also draws them closer together.

"There's a lot of goofy stuff that goes along back stage," Chaffin said.

Sophomore Kim Scherman plays Hasler's secretary Gladys.

"It's fun, because we've all grown really close together," Scherman said.

It also helped them expand their own acting talents.

"I get to act old, and I'm really excited," said sophomore Morgyn Carey who plays the motherly Mabel.

Carey said the hardest thing about the play was either acting old or learning the choreography.

The play is also memorable to the two seniors on the cast ---- and Chad Waln who played "Prez," or the president of the worker's union.

"It's been a fun part of my senior year," Waln said.

The play will be open to senior citizens as part of the district's annual holiday dinner. The "luncheon theater," will begin at 12:30 p.m. Thursday at Eudora Middle School.

The general public can see the play at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday in the Eudora Middle School auditorium. Admission is $4 for adults, $3 for each child and free for Eudora High School students with identification.

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