By CHRISTIAN ZARAGOZA
The UHS Theater Arts Department performed the opening weekend of its spring musical, The Pajama Game, from February 18 to 20, and closed on February 27.
UHS’s production of The Pajama Game features a significantly smaller cast compared to previous years’ musicals, with an influx of younger and newer cast members. One such newcomer to the musical is dancer Cris Stewart. Having previously worked with celebrities such as Gwen Stefani, Stewart was hired by the Theater Arts Department to choreograph the musical’s dance numbers.
Stewart is strict when it comes to keeping actors on task and making sure their choreography is crisp, clean and on time, but he is also a friendly, amusing person, and, as a result, the dance numbers are phenomenal. The main numbers, such as “Once a Year Day,” exhibit synchronized pirouettes, cartwheels and backflips that are truly exhilarating to watch.
For more than two months, the actors, actresses, orchestra members and technical crew have been working together to make The Pajama Game a successful production.
Christine Ho (Sr.), who has performed in previous musicals such as Beauty and the Beast, really enjoys The Pajama Game because “it is different from what [I’ve] done before. I’ve done musicals that are well-known only, so it was fun to expose myself to a brand new story which I have never heard of before.”
“I love my character because I enjoy taking out my everyday anger on the stage,” said Jordan Bodie (Sr.), who portrays Myron “Old Man” Hasler. “I’m also glad Mr. Hasler is an acting-extensive role because acting is my passion and I’m excited to finally have a lead.”
Kevin Ho (Sr.) performed as an ensemble member in Annie Get Your Gun during his freshman year and stars in this year’s musical as well. He said, “The essence of acting is exploring who we truly are. The Pajama Game is worthwhile and engaging because it truly reflects not only 1950’s fashion sense, but also societal demands.”
The technical crew members have been working not only to build and design the set, but also to rehearse quick and silent scene changes crucial to the flow of the musical.
Jon Cizem (Fr.) enjoys his time as a “techie.” He said, “I really enjoy building sets for plays and musicals. I was a techie for Much Ado About Nothing, and that was really fun. But I really enjoy doing so for The Pajama Game because the set is really bright and colorful and I love painting the sky blue backgrounds for the show.”
Another techie is Lauren Bee (Jr.), who said, “I’ve been a techie for a year and a half, and I especially enjoy The Pajama Game because I always loved the building and crafting of the set. I love constructing something new. As a result, it has turned out very well, and I don’t think we could have done much better. I’m very proud of the crew.”
Although it is simple and meant to mimic realistic environments, this year’s set is still beautiful with aesthetically-pleasing bright colors. It reflects pragmatism, portraying scenes such as a typical factory, where the majority of the play occurs.
“The show may be the best that [the UNI Theater Arts department] has ever put on,” Ms. Ranae Bettger (Visual and Performing Arts Dept.) said.