For all those looking forward to the West End transfer of Chichester Festival Theatre’s staging of The Pajama Game, opening at the Shaftesbury Theatre on 13 May, there is now a song from the production available to listen to for the first time.
‘Hey There’, sung by the show’s co-stars Joanna Riding and Michael Xavier was recorded live at the You’ll Never Walk Alone charity concert on 2 March 2014 at the Queen’s Theatre in aid of the Philippines Typhoon Appeal. Just click this link www.soundcloud.com/the-pajama-game/hey-there to have a listen.
In 1950s America, love is in the air at the Sleep-Tite Pajama Factory as handsome new Superintendent Sid Sorokin (Xavier) falls head-over-heels for firebrand Union rep Babe Williams (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?
Also in the cast are Peter Polycarpou and Colin Stinton reprising their roles as Vernon Hines and Hasler, with Gary Wilmot taking over the role of Vernon Hines from 2 June.
The transfer will remind audiences of the pedigree of The Pajama Game’s original creators in 1954: George Abbott, Richard Adler, Jerome Robbins, Hal Prince and Bob Fosse. The show features hits such as ‘Hey There’ (You With The Stars In Your Eyes), ‘Hernando’s Hideaway’ and ’Steam Heat’.
Director Richard 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.”
Eyre is joined by choreographer Stephen Mear (with whom he has recently worked on the musical Stephen Ward, also starring Riding), designer Tim Hatley, lighting designer Howard Harrison, sound designer Paul Groothuis, musical supervisor Gareth Valentine and musical director Michael England.
The full cast is as follows: Joanna Riding (Babe Williams), Michael Xavier (Sid Sorokin), Peter Polycarpou/Gary Wilmot (Vernon Hines), Alexis Owen Hobbs (Gladys), Claire Machin (Mabel), Colin Stinton (Hasler/ Pop), Eugene McCoy (Prez), Siôn Lloyd (Max), Jennie Dale (Mae), Sharon Wattis (Poopsie), Keisha Amponsa Banson (Brenda), Lauren Varnham (Charlene), Jo Morris (Rita), Nolan Frederick (Charley), Richard Jones (Frank), Dan Burton (Earl) and James O’Connell (Joe).
The Pajama Game opens for previews from 2 May and plays until 13 September 2014. The Chichester Festival Theatre production is produced in the West End by Joseph Smith and John Brant, Old Vic Productions, Gavin Kalin and Stephen McGill.
The official pyjama supplier for The Pajama Game is Derek Rose (www.derek-rose.com).
* Readers may also be interested in our review of The Pajama Game at Chichester Festival Theatre.
Plus our interview with actress Joanna Riding in issue four of Musical Theatre Review.