Miami High School’s annual production will be “Pajama Game” performed at 7:30 p.m. Feb 4 through Feb. 6 and 2:30 p.m. Feb. 7 at the Coleman Theatre in Miami.
“After doing the very modern ‘High School Musical’ last year, I think ‘Pajama Game’ provides an interesting change of pace for the students,” Dillon said. “It’s like going back to the beginning (of modern musical theater).”
Originally performed more than 1,000 times from 1954 to 1956 on Broadway, it was among a handful of plays that set the standard for the modern American musical and began the concept of flowing the music into the script.
“It’s also a good fit for the students we have available for the production,” Dillon said. “The plot is fun and very character oriented.”
The cast of 20 includes Dillon who plays the father of one of the characters.
“Pajama Game” was based on a novel by Richard Bissell who wrote the script along with George Abbott. The music and lyrics were written by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross.
It received the 1955 Tony Awards for best musical, best featured actress in a musical — Carol Haney, and best choreographer — Bob Fosse.
It is also noted for starting the career of Shirley MacLaine who was Haney’s understudy. MacLaine filled the role for several months, while Haney was out with a broken ankle. “Pajama Game” was revived in 2006 starring Harry Connick Jr., who, as Dillon said, “jazzed it up a little.”
The revival was winner of best revival of a musical and best choreography — Kathleen Marshall in the 2006 Tony Awards.
In 1957, “Pajama Game” was released as a film starring Doris Day and John Raitt, who also portrayed Curly in “Oklahoma” on stage.
“I saw the most recent version of ‘Pajama Game’ and was struck by the labor disputes in it,” Dillon said. “There is a mark in the play about labor unions that I don’t think is being hit. We’re aiming for it.
“Students today don’t understand the importance of unions and what they did for the average American. I hope the students performing in this play will pick up some of that.”
The story deals with laborers at the “Sleep Tite” pajama factory who are demanding a seven-and-a-half cent raise.
The female head of the union’s grievance committee and the new factory superintendent fall in love despite being on opposite sides of the union.
Ron Stowell is in charge of the music, Darcy Froman is serving as choreographer and Maria Nichols is assisting with costumes.
The sets are being designed and built by the students in the school’s play production class as well as members of the First Assembly of God Church and the Miami Little Theatre.