The Washington-Lee High School Theater Department starts with a bang when their most anticipated production of the year comes out first.
A forbidden love, engulfed by a hot controversy in a classic “proletariat versus bourgeoisie,” takes the stage this fall.
The Washington-Lee yearly musical, formerly taking place as the winter play, will be performed this November for the first time ever. This year’s selection, "The Pajama Game," is an interesting twist between an old-fashioned love story and a social clash between oppressed workers and their managers.
Originally the Broadway play that launched Bob Fosse’s choreographing career, "The Pajama Game" is most well known for its romantic ballad “Hey There” and the stylized dance number of “Steam Heat.”
Penned by the writing duo of George Abbott and Richard Bissell, the musical includes a professional rivalry between Sid Sorokin, a newly-hired supervisor at the Sleep Tite Pajama Factory, and Babe Williams, an attractive spokeswoman for the workers’ grievance committee.
As Babe and her workers fight for a seven and a half cent raise from Sorokin and his management, her hate for Sorokin quickly turns to love. The two seem to be comfortable in their newfound romance until Babe causes a breakdown in the plant — thereby forcing him to fire her. Add that to an accusation of Sorokin’s affair with his boss’s secretary and let the confusion begin.
Zak Sherbiny and Meaghan Kellogg, both juniors, will take the stage as Sid and Babe, respectively.
“We’re both so excited about 'The Pajama Game.' Meaghan and I work really well together and our friendship offstage can only help with our development as characters onstage,” said Sherbiny.
Kellogg shares similar sentiments of enthusiasm for the show as she he has performed in a musical every year she has attended Washington-Lee. When asked about her commitment to the Washington-Lee Theater Department, she said, “Whether it was 'Guys and Dolls,' or 'Kiss Me Kate,' the entertainment that I could bring to the audience and to myself is definitely worth the time put in. It’s why I keep coming back year after year. Plus, this year I finally get a large part.”
Pamela Ricker, the director of the Washington-Lee Theater Program, feels confident about the aspirations for this show, saying, “We have a cast that is experienced in the type of message we are trying to get across with this play.” Washington-Lee has a history of producing plays involving dark social messages — among them is the “oppressed worker” theme present in this play. Last year, students gained experience with this form of theater as they produced the Georg Kaiser play "Gas II" and the Bertolt Brecht pieces "Caucasian Chalk Circle" and "Three Penny Opera."
“It will be a difficult job to create the right balance between the joy of the romance with the reality of blue-collar poverty. However, these things flourish side-by-side in reality. So why not portray them on stage?” Ricker said.