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By CELINE NGUYEN
The opening night of UHS’s spring musical, The Pajama Game, saw the theatre packed and the audience waiting in anticipation. The comical story of a factory of pajama makers pushing to receive a raise included both new and returning faces to the UHS drama cast.
Factory Superintendent, played by first-timer Davin Pester-Wiggins (Sr.), finds himself falling in love with the spunky Head of Grievances Babe Williams, played by Corinne Alsop (Jr.). Supporting cast and crew add to the chaotic mix in a 1950s version of Romeo and Juliet, but with a much happier ending. Factory workers played by Ana Fujimoto (Jr.), Danica Silan (Sr.) and Kathy Flores (Sr.) face off against Floor Manager Billy Huang (Sr.) and Head Boss Jordan Bodie (Jr.) in a plot to get a 7.5 cent raise.
I found The Pajama Game to be uplifting, silly and light-hearted. The audience applauded, laughed along with the cast’s antics and delighted in the chemistry between Alsop and Pester-Wiggins. Pester-Wiggins, in his first performance with the UHS drama troupe, performed admirably and charmed the audience with his charismatic and natural acting.
Supporting roles made the musical believable and added to the realism of the set provided. Alisa Pan (Sr.), who played a stressed yet cheerful seamstress, said, “It wouldn’t be a performance without the main leads, but the same goes for the supporting leads! I felt we all really practiced really hard for this show, regardless our roles, and I think the passion showed when we were all on stage.”
A big part of the musical is, of course, the music. The pit orchestra provided live accompaniment to the show and added a sense of grandeur to the set. Under the expert attentions of Mrs. Grace Lee (Visual and Performing Arts Dept.) and section leaders Chelsea Mariano (Jr.), Kai Soto-Dessen (So.), Sonia Kelly (So.), Michael Jiang (Sr.) and Dorothy Xu (Jr.), the cast acted against dramatic music played by the musicians under the main stage.
The Pajama Game was undoubtedly a funny and expressive performance, albeit not one as famous as Shrek! or Shakespeare. The characters, who gave off a certain 1950s charm, really struck a chord with the audience as they were easy to understand and delightfully full of distinctive personalities.
Lawrence Xu (Jr.) said, “I really liked this musical because of the plot and the easy to understand language. The set design was so detailed, and the actors’ expert performances really transported me to a pajama factory worker’s strike in the 1950s.”
Though there were many fresh faces cast in this musical, they shone as brightly as veterans of past performances. Tiffany Madlambayan (Sr.) said, “I was really surprised at the casting this time. There were some faces that I had expected to be on stage but weren’t, but the new actors were so confident and well practiced that they sold the performance. I loved the ensemble singing parts, and the chaos of the ‘company picnic’ was really fun to see!”