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The Pajama Game

May 12, 2015

PajamaGame1Event: “The Pajama Game” (as part of The LASALLE Show 2015)
Venue: The Singapore Airlines Theatre
Run: 6th – 9th May 2015

LASALLE’s big musical showcase this year, performed by the graduating students of its Musical Theatre programme, is the Broadway classic “The Pajama Game”, which won a Tony Award for Best Musical in 1955.

It is based on a novel “7½ Cents” by Richard Bissell, and has libretto written by George Abbott and Richard Bissell, with music and lyrics written by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross.

The story revolves around a strike by workers of a pajama factory in early 1950s Cedar Rapids, Iowa, as well as the relationships between two couples – Babe and Sid, and Hines and Gladys.

The musical is filled with hilarious moments and memorable tunes, which probably explains why it has remained so popular over the years.

I’ve attended a number of LASALLE Show musicals the past few years, and the one common thing I’ve always noticed is the immense wealth of talent that is present in the students of the programme.

Standout performers include Catherine Campion (whom I last saw in Sight Lines’ “A Christmas Cabaret”), who is such a natural on stage and plays the role of Babe with consummate flair, and Mitchell Lagos, whose rendition of Hines contains such sprightliness it’s a sheer joy to watch.

Equally commendable were Valerie Choo and Matheus Ting, both also from “A Christmas Cabaret”, who play the seductive Gladys and the promiscuous Prez with great gusto, although Dennis Heng, who plays the new superintendent Sid, seemed to struggle at points with the vocal demands of his songs.

However, considering this is a musical set in Mid-Western USA in the 1950s, the accents, especially from some of the supporting cast, weren’t as strong nor as convincing as one would have liked, and the disparity, when juxtaposed with those more competent with their accents, was rather apparent.

The supporting cast and ensemble is a huge one – a luxury which school productions tend to enjoy – and the beautifully choreographed scenes involving the entire cast onstage at work in the pajama factory were a sight to behold.

The sizeable band of twelve musicians gave the musical the fullness of sound it deserved, transporting one back to the nostalgic sounds of 1950s Broadway.

LASALLE Show musicals rarely disappoint, and this one is no different, despite the fact that “The Pajama Game” isn’t exactly the easiest of shows to pull off.

Kudos once again to the graduating class of LASALLE Musical Theatre, and may you go on to greater heights in future.

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