Callow's Pajama Game Throws in the TowelDate: 29 November 1999
Simon Callow's revival of the 1954 American musical The Pajama Game has posted early closing notices. The show, which opened to poor reviews on 4 October at the Victoria Palace after premiering in Birmingham in April, will close six weeks early on 18 December despite denials from producers earlier this month that there were any plans for closure.
Even prior to its West End opening, The Pajama Game encountered difficulties. The original star of the show, Swedish TV presenter Ulrika Jonsson pulled out in July claiming vocal strain. Jonsson was to make her West End debut in the role of Babe Williams, a worker at the Sleep-Tite pajama factory who makes the mistake of falling in love with her boss during union negotiations. She was replaced by Leslie Ash, another TV personality who had never before performed in a West End musical. Ash is best-known for her long-running role as Deborah in the British television sitcom Men Behaving Badly.
In addition to Ash, the cast includes Graham Bickley as boss Sid, poet and stand-up John Hegley as Vernon Hines, the factory's Time and Motion Study Man, former EastEnders soap star Anita Dobson as secretary Mabel Ellis and Alison Limerick as flirty factory worker Gladys.
Callow, who worked for several years to make the show a reality, gathered together an eclectic creative team for the production. American abstract painter Frank Stella designed the set; British saxophonist John Harle supervised the music; and David Bintley, artistic director of the Birmingham Royal Ballet, choreographed the dance numbers.
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'.