The Game They're In: Encores! Puts on Its Pajamas, May 2-6

News   The Game They're In: Encores! Puts on Its Pajamas, May 2-6

Encores! revives The Pajama Game.

Photo by Aubrey Reuben

Brent Barrett, Karen Ziemba, Daniel Jenkins, Ken Page, Deirdre Goodwin and Mark Linn-Baker will star in the May 2-6 Encores! concert version of Richard Adler and Jerry Ross' The Pajama Game.

Also in the cast are Gina Ferrall, Fred Burrell, Jennifer Cody (Urinetown), Katie Harvey, Edgar Godineaux, Rebecca Baxter, Timothy Breese, Tony Capone, Caitlin Carter (Swing, Chicago), Susan Derry, Joe Ferrell, Anne Hawthorne, Joy Hermalyn, Ann Kittredge, Kirk McDonald, April Nixon, Mark Oka, Tina Ou, Jessica Perrizo, Josh Prince, Devin Richards, Rebecca Robbins, Angela Robinson, J.D. Webster and Patrick Wetzel. Karen Ziemba will play Babe Williams, head of the union grievance committee in a Midwestern pajama factory. Mark Linn-Baker will play "time-study" man, Hines, Daniel Jenkins is union president, Prez, and Brent Barrett is Ziemba's antagonist, the factory's new superintendent, Sid Sorokin. When labor and union meet, they fall in love. John Rando will direct and John Carrafa is choreographer, taking on the same roles they had for the Broadway hit, Urinetown.

Richard Adler told Playbill On-Line a separate non-Encores! production of the show will land on Broadway in the 2002-2003 season. He declined to name a producer or director, but said the plan was in place. The production will be the first Broadway mounting of Pajama Game to feature "If You Win, You Lose," a new song Adler penned a few years back. The tune has been used in many regional productions across the U.S. According to Adler, the number is a refashioning of "Watch Your Heart," a tune inserted in a 1973 Broadway revival of The Pajama Game.

"I reshaped ['Watch Your Heart'] into 'If You Win, You Lose.' It's got a new melody and a new lyric," he said.

"If You Win" takes the place usually reserved for a reprise of one of the score's best known titles, "Hey There." Said Adler: "The reprise of 'Hey There' was suggested by my mentor of the time, George Abbott, to help promote the song. That was 48 years ago. The song needs no help now. I never liked the reprise. So I took it out and put this in... It's the best song I ever wrote."

The Encores! concert does not include the new song. The series mandate is to represent the show as it was heard in its original form.

Ziemba won a 2000 Tony Award for her performance in Contact as a housewife who escapes a suffocating marriage through choreographed flights of fancy. The show was only her latest collaboration with director-choreographer Susan Stroman, who had previously cast her in And the World Goes Round, Crazy for You and Steel Pier.

Barrett received some of the best notices of his career as Fred Graham in Kiss Me, Kate in London. Recently, he was nominated for an Olivier Award. On Broadway, he is known as a sturdy replacement player, stepping into lead roles in Annie Get Your Gun and Chicago, in which he has played Billy Flynn many times.

Jenkins played the lead in Big and appeared on Broadway in Wrong Mountain.

Pajama Game has a book by George Abbott and Richard Bissell, based on Bissell's novel, "7-1/2 Cents." Abbott and Jerome Robbins directed the original 1954 Broadway production, which starred Janis Paige and John Raitt as the romantic leads, and featured the choreographic Broadway debut of Bob Fosse. Fosse took cast members Carol Haney, Buzz Miller and Peter Gennaro and created what became the show's most famous dance number, "Steam Heat." The score also features "Hey There." A film version starred Doris Day and John Raiit. Hal Linden played Sid in the Broadway revival of 1973.

— by Robert Simonson
and Kenneth Jones