Tuesday, June 7, 2022



"The Pajama Game" (1954) comes from the grand Broadway tradition of musical theater pieces that defy common sense. We are asked to suspend our disbelief at every stage and for the most part we are willing to do so. 

Ben Jones plays Sid, the handsome small town kid who has come to the big city (in this case Cedar Rapids, Iowa) to prove himself as production manager of a pajama factory. He arrives as the workers at the factory are getting ready to strike in order to receive a 7 1/2 cents per hour raise. Immediately, and when we say immediately we mean lightning bolts, Sid falls for Babe (Ashley Garlick) who just happens to be the union representative. She falls equally fast, and, like Sid, it takes her no time to stand up and sing about it. 

Will they get together? Of course. Will the bad boss relent and the strikers get their raise? For sure. That is pretty much it for plot. There are assorted hi-jinx and your typical New York writer-skewering of Iowa yokels, but in the end it's about song and dance far more than story.

This is difficult for 42nd St. Moon. The stage at Gateway Theater is small, as is the cast. The more intimate dance numbers, like "Steam Heat" in Act Two, involving only three dancers (Renee DeWeese, Tony Conaty and Nicholas Yenson), are best. 

The singers could use better miking. Both Jones and Garlick have big voices and can overcome it, but several of the others are, at times, practically inaudible. Act Two is where the best songs are -- you'll love "Steam Heat," "Hernando's Hideaway," "Seven and a Half Cents," and the hit song from the show, "Hey There."

★ ★ ★

RATINGS: The San Francisco Theater Blog Awards Division grants THREE STARS to 42nd St. Moon's production of "The Pajama Game." It is a fun evening and the final number is done in pajamas. This is something you won't see anywhere else.

Special mention to Nick Nakashima and Renee DeWeese. When they are on stage they take it over. 

"The Pajama Game"
The Gateway Theatre
215 Jackson St, San Francisco
Through June 19, 2022