It’s a scintillating musical slumber party to squelch the summer blahs.
In the sweltering heat of July, there is nothing better than a breezy, restful afternoon and evening.
This weekend, the local thespians of the Madison County Arts Council show they are as cool as the other side of the pillow with a delightful rendition of the classic musical “The Pajama Game.” The timeless comedic love story, directed by the experienced duo of Stephanie Stephens and Kevin Lohr, will be presented tomorrow through Sunday in London High School’s newly-named Joyce Hildebrand Auditorium.
The show will be on stage beginning at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday as well as a 2:30 p.m. matinee on Sunday. Tickets for all three performances are $12 for adults and $10 for students.
For the employees of the Sleep-Tite Pajama Factory, the tension between management and the workers is getting unbearable. The employees are holding fast for a seven-and-a-half cent raise.
Enter young new factory superintendent Sid Sorokin as he comes toe-to-toe with cute Union Grievance Committee chair Babe Williams — and more than just sewing machine sparks fly. A chance meeting happens between the two when Sid shoves a factory employee. When Babe comes to his defense, Sid soon learns Babe will be no push over.
Matthew Tlachac is perfectly-cast as the suave Sid. Whether singing the heartfelt “Hey There” or the Frank Sinatra-ish “A New Town is a Blue Town,” Tlachac’s strong, but mellow tones will woo the audience.
As the feisty (but love-struck) Babe, Krissy Hartman is a joy to watch. With engaging stage presence and an easy-to-listen-to voice, Hartman is tremendous right out of the gate with “I’m Not At All In Love,” sung with the ladies of the ensemble.
A big part of the show’s magic is the chemistry displayed by Tlachac and Hartman in their roles. Although on opposite sides of the labor dispute, the duo shows that love can conquer all in their nice duets “Small Talk” and “There Once Was a Man.”
Paul Oswalt provides nicely-timed comic relief as Vernon Hines, the efficient — but often inebriated by jealousy — factory time keeper. Showing that brewing jealous streak, Oswalt pairs with the wonderfully-expressionate Ciera Bierbaugh (as Mabel) in one of the show’s best numbers as they perform the ironically-named “I’ll Never Be Jealous Again.”
Holding the key to Hines’ heart (and is some ways the key to the show) is Madison Wells as the sweetly-mischievous Gladys. Among the times she shines, Wells is wonderful in the playful “Hernando’s Hideaway” and subsequent dream scene.
Curt Minor is brashly charming as the cantankerous factory president Myron Hasler, a man who doesn’t seem to be losing much sleep over the labor disputes. Doing a good job of keeping him calm is the aforementioned Bierbaugh as his secretary.
Nathan Haley is an imposing figure as Prez, the head of the union. Luckily for the workers of the factory, the leadership qualities Haley’s Prez shows for finding fair wages are smoother than his attempts to juggle his womanizing ways.
The ensemble cast doesn’t fall asleep on the job as they portray various singing and dancing characters along the way. From the face-paced “Racing With the Clock” to the jubilant “Seven and a Half Cents,” the ensemble shows high energy.
Adding greatly to the ensemble’s performance is the lively choreography by Brynne Mayne (who shows her acting talents as well in the all-too-brief role as the quirky Mae).
Colorful costumes were coordinated by Bierbaugh, with a charming set designed by Bruce Thompson, and built by Wilbro Productions.
Finally, Stephens leads an orchestra of well-trained and professional musicians who help bring the hummable songs to life.
So, set the alarm clock to make sure you do not miss Madison County Arts Council’s “The Pajama Game” this weekend.
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