Hannah Eilertsen

No one sleeping on the job for Belmont’s latest production

Final spring musical for old Belmont opens on Wednesday at Spectrum theatre

They say life imitates art – or vice-versa.

In the case of the new production from Belmont secondary’s Prometheus Players, The Pajama Game, the latter is closer to the truth. Then again, last year’s teachers strike probably didn’t see any educators fall for administrators or government negotiators.

The budding relationship between feisty union rep at a pajama factory, Catherine “Babe” Williams, played by Hannah Eilertsen; and superintendent Sid Sorokin, played by Justin Lavoie, is one of the central themes of this musical classic, which opens next Wednesday at the Spectrum Community School theatre.

Director and Belmont theatre department head Melissa Young chuckled about the timing of the real-life labour disruption and her choice of this 1954 piece for the school’s spring musical.

Upon first considering it and listening to the songs, she wasn’t that thrilled, believing the material to be outdated. It wasn’t until she saw the show in London last summer that she saw the possibilities.

“I was blown away. There was something about it that connected with me,” she said, adding it wasn’t the union-management theme. “I’m a dancer and the dancing was phenomenal.”

Young has done her best to transfer that element of the show to the high school production, despite the comparatively lack of experience of the cast members.

“I think the big dance numbers are going to be fun. Ms. Young is an amazing choreographer,” said Eilertsen, among a group of Grade 12 students who have spent several years in the theatre program. “She treats us like professional actors. It’s a unique and realistic theatre experience.”

Given the era of the original story, some lines in the script have been changed to make them more appropriate – read politically correct – for today’s audiences.

Lavoie, who is also in his final year with the theatre program at Belmont, likes the mix of comedy with music and dance.

Asked what the toughest thing about this production has been for him, he hesitates, but only for a moment: “I have to kiss one of my best friends,” he said of a scene with Eilertsen, one of his pals since Grade 7. “It’s a little bit awkward.”

Fellow cast member Dylan Karlsson also enjoys the musical aspect of the show, noting that it’ll be amazing working with a live 20-piece orchestra.

“We’ve got those romantic numbers, but also the big dance numbers,” he said.

The Pajama Game differs from the previous two spring musicals he’s been involved in at Belmont. Where Fiddler on the Roof featured very emotional subject matter and music, and The Wizard of Oz was an all-out fun production, he said, this year’s show has rather adult themes that have prompted those involved to think about things like labour negotiations and the working world.

The Pajama Game is the last production to be rehearsed and initially mounted at the old Belmont. Young isn’t yet sure at which new high school she’ll be teaching drama classes. Regardless, she said, looking around a crowded wardrobe and set storage room, “I won’t miss the packing everything up from here.”

The four performances run at 7 p.m. April 22 and 23, and 2 and 7 p.m. on April 25 at 957 Burnside Rd. W. Tickets are $13.50 for adults, $11.50 for students and seniors and can be purchased at the school, 3067 Jacklin Rd., or reserved by calling 250-478-5501.


Just Posted

Greater Victoria is a tough market, even for former homeowners

Seniors often squeezed out of the housing market due to limited income

Garry Oak Meadow Marathon underway at Cattle Point

Every Sunday in February and March Friends of Uplands Park is seeking volunteers

Number of adults living with parents has doubled since 1995

9 per cent of the adult population living with one or more parent

VIDEO: Historic night in Red Deer as 2019 Canada Winter Games kicks off

Star-studded Opening Ceremony features athletes from across Canada

Flying squirrels found to glow pink in the dark, including two from B.C.

Squirrels from Hope and Abbotsford were included in the biologists’ database

Ontario police field complaints over Amber Alert for missing girl, 11, found dead

Some said the Amber Alert issued late Thursday for Riya Rajkumar disrupted their sleep

Names keep adding to vaccine petition started by B.C. mom

Maple Ridge mom started campaign to make vaccination a condition of attending school

Northern B.C. First Nation clan says ancient tools found at pipeline work site

Archeologists from the Smithsonian Institute estimate one of the stones found dates back up to 3500 years

Wilson-Raybould resignation stokes anger, frustration within veterans community

Liberals have had three veterans-affairs ministers — Kent Hehr, Seamus O’Regan and Wilson-Raybould

No Center of Gravity festival in Kelowna this summer: organizers

COG organizers said the hope is to return to the Okanagan in 2020

Eight cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver outbreak

Coastal Health official say the cases stem from the French-language Ecole Jules Verne Secondary

Most Read