This is the year of strikes, both in the educational field and onstage.
In April at Spectrum Community School Theatre, Belmont secondary is producing the musical The Pajama Game, based on Richard Bissel’s novel, 7 1/2 Cents.
The Pajama Game focuses on Sid Sorokin, who is hired to work in a pajama factory going through labour issues. The employees demand a raise of seven and a half cents, which their boss, ‘Old Man’ Hasler, refuses to give them. Despite being on opposite sides in the labour debate, with an imminent strike looming, Sid eventually falls in love with the head of the grievance committee, Katherine ‘Babe’ Williams.
“I’ve had Pajama Game on my radar; on my desk; for a few years now and there are a few reasons why I chose it,” says the proud director, Melissa Young.
“Number one, it’s a great musical for a large cast, and there are tons of big songs and dances in the show. The music is really a lot of fun and it’s really well-written. The second reason? it just seemed to work out this way that The Pajama Game is about a strike at a pajama factory. And standing on the picket lines (last fall), it made me think about this musical again.”
Although it was several months late in starting production, Young has a lot of faith that the cast will be able to pull off this massive show.
“We have a strong, committed group this year, and everyone thus far has been working really hard. But it’s gonna [sic] be lot of work,” she laughed. “‘Cause there’s a lot of dancing.”
This is my third year in the Musical Theatre program offered at Belmont, and it has definitely been advantageous to someone who aspires to be an actress. Ms. Young runs a pretty hardcore production and the results are always stunning.
Two years ago, with some amusement on my part, my grandmother had been slightly reluctant to come to see Fiddler on the Roof, because it was a high school production, thinking they are typically of very poor quality. She was amazed by how professional and well-put-together the show was, and has come to see all of our shows since.
The play opens with the lyric, “The pajama game is the game we’re in” – and this year, we hope you can be in the game too.
Briannah Willoughby is a student in the writing program at Belmont secondary.
The Pajama Game runs April, 22, 23 and 25 at Spectrum Community School.