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'The Pajama Game' A Musical Love Story

Feb. 18 screening of the 1957 film and a pajama drive for local kids in need, also planned

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February 13, 2013 | by Judy Moore
"The Pajama Game,” Richard Adler and Jerry Ross’ hit Broadway musical, will be staged at the Ethel M. Barber Theater from Feb. 15 to March 3.

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Love clashes with labor and management in the sassy and sexy musical, “The Pajama Game,” opening just in time for a belated Valentine’s weekend celebration at the Theatre and Interpretation Center (TIC) at Northwestern University.

Based on the novel “7 1/2 Cents” by Richard Bissell with a score by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross, “The Pajama Game” will be directed by Marriott Theatre artistic associate Peter Marston Sullivan, with choreography by River North Dance Chicago founding member and Northwestern University faculty member Jeff Hancock. Music direction will be by Jeff Award-nominated Northwestern University faculty member Ryan T. Nelson.

Performances will take place 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 15; 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 16; 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 17; 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 21; 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 22; 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23; 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 24; 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 28; 8 p.m. Friday, March 1; 8 p.m. Saturday, March 2; 2 p.m. Sunday, March 3, at the Ethel M. Barber Theater, 30 Arts Circle Drive, on the University’s Evanston campus.

Related special events include a one-night-only film screening of the 1957 award-winning classic, “The Pajama Game,” starring Doris Day, John Raitt and Carol Haney at 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 18, in the Barber Theater. The screening is free to TIC’s 7-play mainstage subscribers with advance reservations; tickets are $10 for the general public and $5 for full-time students and may be purchased through the TIC Box Office at (847) 491-7282 or www.tic.northwestern.edu

A “pajama drive” throughout the run of the show in partnership with the Illinois Chapter of the Pajama Program, a non-profit that helps to create a warm and nurturing environment for children living in difficult circumstances, will benefit more than two dozen children in the Evanston area.

“The Pajama Game” centers on the Sleep-Tite Pajama Factory where the worker demands for a 7 ½-cent raise are being ignored by management. In the midst of a potential strike, Babe, leader of the union grievance committee, and Sid, the handsome new factory superintendent, fall in love. Babe and Sid try to make their relationship work, while belonging to opposing sides of the labor struggle.

“There are elements to this show that everyone loves,” Sullivan says. “The music is amazing and it’s also a big dance and movement piece, so that makes this show beautiful and so much fun.”

The Broadway production’s two big showstoppers are the ballad “Hey There” and the song and dance number “Steam Heat.”

Sullivan’s production also explores the grounded labor dispute that drives the story, as well as the battle of the sexes, forward. “It’s a very progressive show,” said Sullivan. “All of the women are very strong; in the end, it’s probably the women who end up on top in our production, which might be a little different from other productions.”

Sullivan is also the artistic director of BoHo Theatre in Chicago and his recent directing projects include “Floyd Collins,” “Pippin,” “Icarus” and “I Am My Own Wife.” “The Pajama Game” is Sullivan’s first project with TIC. He is working with a cast of 19 undergraduate Northwestern students and a design team that includes Jeff Award-winning sound designer Josh Horvath; Northwestern MFA students Kristina Herne (sets), Carolyn Sullivan (costumes) and Rebecca Barrett (lights); and Northwestern undergraduate student Shawn Morganlander (make-up). 

In addition, eight undergraduate students collaborated in the fall quarter to study the orchestration techniques of the original orchestrators and the orchestrators of the 2006 revival. The students then designed their own orchestral reductions for the 12-person orchestra in the TIC production. “The results, as audiences will hear, are fantastic,” said Nelson.  

Single tickets are $10 to $30; tickets for groups of eight or more are $8 to $27 each; $5 are available exclusively to Northwestern students with valid IDs on advance ticket purchases only. Tickets are available through the TIC Box Office at (847) 491-7282 or www.tic.northwestern.edu.

CONSTRUCTION ALERT: A three-year construction project underway on the southeast end of the Northwestern University campus has closed Arts Circle Drive to traffic. Free parking for evening and weekend events remains available, but the project impacts handicapped parking and patrons requiring special access to Evanston campus theaters, as the parking structure is not accessible to patrons unable to climb stairs. UPDATE: From Feb. 11 to March 15, 2013, the northwest stairwell in the parking structure across from the Theatre and Interpretation Center will be closed. All visitors and audience members must exit the garage from the north-central stairwell and take the stairs leading up to the Louis and Barber theaters. For the most current information on the construction project and drop-off locations for patrons requiring special access to our theaters, visit www.tic.northwestern.edu/construction

Topics: Campus Life