Callow's Pajama Game Transfers to West EndDate: 10 May 1999
Simon Callow's revival of the 1954 musical comedy, The Pajama Game, will open in the West End on 14 September at the Victoria Palace Theatre. The new production, which premiered last month at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre, stars Swedish TV presenter Ulrika Jonsson and comic poet John Hegley.
Babe Williams and Sid Sorokin sit on different sides of the bargaining table when the union airs its grievances at the Sleep-Tite Pajama Factory. The blossoming of romance between the two may be even harder to negotiate.
Jonsson, who plays Babe, a part played by Doris Day in the film version, has reportedly taken singing lessons to prepare for her stage debut. She is more familiar in Britain as the presenter of TV's Gladiators and the sidekick to comedians Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer on the game show Shooting Stars.
Hegley, known for his verse contributions to The Guardian and his poetry performances at the Edinburgh Fringe and around the country, plays Vernon Hines, the factory's Time and Motion Study Man, while former East Enders soap star Anita Dobson plays Sid's secretary Mabel Ellis. They are joined by Graham Bickley as Sid and Alison Limerick as flirty factory worker Gladys Hotchkiss.
Callow, who has been working hard for several years to make the show a reality, has also gathered together an eclectic but impressive creative team. American abstract painter Frank Stella, one of the leading figures of late 20th century art, has designed the set. Britain's leading saxophonist John Harle, who works regularly with Paul McCartney and Elvis Costello, supervises the music. And David Bintley, artistic director of the Birmingham Royal Ballet, is in charge of the choreography.
The Pajama Game is based on the novel Seven-and-a-half-cents by Richard Bissell with music and lyrics by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross and book by George Abbott and Richard Bissell. Songs include 'Hernando's Hideaway', 'Hey There (you with the stars in your eyes)' and 'Steam Heat'.