Chichester Pajama Game hits West End in May 2014

Joanna Riding in The Pajama Game, due to transfer to the Shaftesbury Theatre in May 2014. Picture: Roy Tan

Joanna Riding in The Pajama Game, due to transfer to the Shaftesbury Theatre in May 2014. Picture: Roy Tan

Chichester Festival Theatre’s production of The Pajama Game, directed by Richard Eyre, transfers to the West End on 1 May (press night is 13 May), playing at the Shaftesbury Theatre until 13 September 2014. The musical will move in when the current show residing there – From Here to Eternity – closes.

In 1950s America, love is in the air at the Sleep-Tite Pajama Factory as handsome new Superintendent Sid Sorokin (Michael Xavier) falls head-over-heels for firebrand Union rep Babe Williams (Joanna Riding). Sparks fly when the employees are refused a seven-and-a-half cents raise, leaving Sid and Babe at odds as the temperature rises… Will love, eventually, conquer all? Riding reprises her role in the show which features songs such as ‘Hey There (You With The Stars In Your Eyes)’, ‘Hernando’s Hideaway’ and ‘Steam Heat’.

Commenting on The Pajama Game, which has words and music by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross and a book by George Abbott and Richard Bissell (based on Bissell’s novel 7 1⁄2 Cents), director Eyre said: “The Pajama Game was the first musical I ever heard – on an album belonging to my sister when I was 14. I had never seen it until I directed it at Chichester. It was a long wait to discover what an entrancing, joyful, tuneful and sharp show it is.”

Double Olivier Award-winning actress Riding is currently in Stephen Ward, the new Andrew Lloyd Webber musical playing at the Aldwych Theatre, directed and choreographed by The Pajama Game team, Richard Eyre and Stephen Mear.

Xavier has played an impressive range of leading roles in a wide variety of musicals and plays. He was recently seen as Captain Von Trapp in the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre production of The Sound 0f Music. He is currently performing in the seasonal concerts, The Best of the West End at Christmas.

Further casting is yet to be announced. Also in the creative team are: designer Tim Hatley, lighting designer Howard Harrison, sound designer Paul Groothius and musical director Gareth Valentine.

The Chichester Festival Theatre production of The Pajama Game is produced in the West End by Joseph Smith and John Brant, Old Vic Productions, Gavin Kalin, Neil Franklin and Stephen McGill.

Readers may also be interested in our review of The Pajama Game at Chichester Festival Theatre.

Plus Musical Theatre Review’s interview with actress Joanna Riding in the current issue – now available.


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