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Broadway musical coming to Blythe

What could be funny, romantic or musical about working in a pajama factory in the mid 1950s?

This is the issue investigated by the Broadway musical comedy, The Pajama Game, currently in pre-production at Palo Verde High School.

The show, written by George Abbott and Richard Bissell, with music and lyrics by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross, was derived from Bissells novel, 7 1/2 Cents, a story about his experiences working in his familys pajama factory in Dubuque, Iowa.

It captures the lives of a group of working-class Americans involved in a labor dispute in a garment factory in the days before outsourcing sent most of such jobs overseas.

The Pajama Game premiered in New York on May 13, 1954, receiving rave reviews.

With a cast of stars such as John Raitt, Janis Paige, Eddie Foy Jr. and Carol Haney, the show was an immediate hit, running for 1,063 performances.

The creative staff included producers Harold Prince and Robert Griffith, choreographer Bob Fosse and co-directors George Abbott and Jerome Robbins, all major forces in the American musical theater. This combination guaranteed that The Pajama Game would become a classic.

A 1957 film version, pairing Doris Day with Raitt, brought the show to a wider audience and made international hits out of Hernandos Hideway, Hey, There and Steam Heat, along with other songs from the show.

Despite successful revivals in 1957 and 1973, the sweet, old-fashioned values of the show were replaced by trendier, more modern Broadway shows and The Pajama Game was relegated to the history books.

For the current production, the Palo Verde High School Drama Club has wiped off the dust of several decades and rediscovered the fun and energy that originally attracted audiences.

The club is acting as producer and also handling the technical elements of the show.

The large, talented cast includes Daren Sprawls and Alissa Williams in the leading roles with Aderiana Vasquez, Colby Presley, Evan Benedict, Steven Ulmer, Sasha Watters, Vanessa Red, Blake Conley and Alicia Fletcher heading a fine group of supporting actors. The plays director is George Amerman.

A student orchestra will provide the music under the direction of Jose Hernandez, with special help from accompanist, Gloria Engelhardt.

The dances are being choreographed by Amerman, Brandy Cox, Terri Ulmer and Sara Gauthier.

The scenery will be designed and painted by students from the advanced art class at PVHS under the supervision of art teacher James Sloman.

Rounding out this broad student effort are the Regional Occupation Program (ROP) classes who are handling the business arrangements for the production, such as accounting and ticket and program preparation.

According to ROP teachers P. J. Johnson and Arturo Gonzalez, this kind of hands-on, practical experience is perfect to enrich and reinforce the goals of the county program, while increasing student involvement in school activities.

The Pajama Game is scheduled for five performances in March, including a Saturday matinee and will open on March 16 and perform nightly through March 19 at 7:30 p.m. in the PVHS Cafeteria.

The matinee on March 19 will begin at 1 p.m. Tickets will be available at the high school on March 1.

Call 922-7148 for more information.

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