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"Hey, There" - The Pajama Game (Original Broadway Production, 1954)

HELLO BROADWAY FANS! Can’t believe we’re only 47 DAYS closer to Broadway’s biggest night of the year and celebrating the return of Live Theater at the same time. So much anticipation in the air for The 74th Annual Tony Awards. The fun continues here at New York Broadway Tours presenting you more of your favorite Musical Theater showstoppers from past telecasts in our TOP 50 TONY AWARDS COUNTDOWN.
At # 47 on our countdown today, we take you to a local pajama factory in 1940 that is in boiling hot water. The factory workers are asking the head of staff to have a larger raise of 7 1/2 cents. At the same time, romance blooms between the new superintendent and the head of the grievance committee. This is The Pajama Game. The show features an original score written by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross (in addition Frank Loesser but is uncredited), a book by George Abbott and Richard Bissell, and original staging by Bob Fosse, It’s based on a 1953 novel by Bissell entitled 7 1/2 CENTS.
From the 1971 telecast (where many of your favorite Broadway stars at the time reprised their signature roles for one night only), the phenomenal John Raitt as “Sid Sorokin” sings one of the show’s signature ballads….. The one that expresses romance for that special someone but the feelings are not mutual….. HEY THERE.
THE PAJAMA GAME originally premiered on Broadway in 1954 at the St. James Theatre where it ran for a total of 1,063 performances. Under the direction of George Abbott and Jerome Robbins along with choreography by Bob Fosse, the cast was led by….
John Raitt (later Stephen Douglas) as “Sid Sorokin”,
Janis Paige as “Babe Williams”.
Eddie Foy Jr. as “Hines”,
Ralph Dunn as “Mr. Hasler”,
Carol Haney as “Gladdys”,
Thelma Pelish as “Mae”,
And more.
In addition, the legendary actress Shirley MacLaine got her start appearing in the Ensemble and covering the role of “Gladys Hotchkiss” (usually played by Carol Haney). During a performance going on for the role of “Gladys”, MacLaine was discovered by Hal B. Wallis (who was in the audience) and was offered her contract with Paramount Pictures.
The original production of THE PAJAMA GAME was nominated and won all 3 of it’s Tony Awards in 1955 including BEST MUSICAL.
The show was later revived on Broadway TWICE.
The first Broadway revival of THE PAJAMA GAME happened in 1973 at the Lunt Fontanne Theatre running for only 65 performances.
starting in 1973. It played the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre running for only 5 previews and 65 regular performances. Once again directed by George Abbott and choreography by Bob Fosse, cast featured…
Hal Linden as “Sid Sorokin”,
Barbara McNair as “Babe Williams”.
Cab Calloway as “Hines”,
Williard Waterman as “Mr. Hasler”,
Sharron Miller as “Gladdys”,
Margret Coleman as “Mae”,
And more.
It did not receive any Tony nominations that season.
The most recent Broadway revival happened in 2006 from Roundabout Theatre Company. It played the American Airlines Theatre for a limited engagement of 41 previews and 129 regular performances. This revival featured a revised and updated book by Peter Ackerman (screenwriter of The Ice Age Movies), additional songs that were cut from the original production added back into the show, and all new orchestrations of some of the beloved songs showcasing the show’s leading man Harry Connick Jr‘s voice. The song HERNANDO’S HIDEAWAY also included an additional dance break featuring the music having a swing and jazzier edge (which also featured Connick Jr playing the piano on stage). With brand new direction and choreography by Kathleen Marshall, the cast was led by…..
Harry Connick Jr. as “Sid Sorokin”,
Kelli O’Hara as “Babe Williams”.
Michael McKean as “Hines”,
Richard Poe as “Mr. Hasler”,
Megan Lawrence as “Gladdys”,
Joyce Chittick as “Mae”,
And more.
The 2006 revival was nominated for 9 Tony Awards winning 2 for BEST REVIVAL OF A MUSICAL and BEST CHOREOGRAPHY (for Kathleen Marshall).
THE PAJAMA GAME was also a smash hit on the big screen in 1957 produced by Warner Bros. Pictures. It featured majority of the cast from Broadway reprising their roles on the big screen along with some newcomers. Under the direction of George Abbott and Stanley Donen plus choreography by Bob Fosse, the film cast was led by….
John Raitt reprising his Broadway performance as “Sid Sorokin”,
Doris Day as “Babe Williams”.
Eddie Foy Jr. as “Hines”,
Ralph Dunn as “Mr. Hasler”,
Carol Haney as “Gladdys”,
Thelma Pelish as “Mae”,
And more.
Today THE PAJAMA GAME is a popular show performed in schools, Community Theatres, Regional Theatres, and around the world.
Doesn’t this show make you want to join in the fun and romance??!!!
Mike Haber
Author: Mike Haber

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