Pajama Game brings back childhood memories
“The Pajama Game” let me step back in time recently at the Lutcher Theater. It brought back memories of watching Bob Fosse’s great choreography for “Steam Heat” as a child.
There are certain scenes in life that seem to permanently imprint your brain. I remember sitting in a tree eating watermelon while watching my house being moved from the pasture to the road. That is probably my earliest memory. I was just a couple of years old.
The day my grandfather died from a heart attack in my front yard, I remember going around the corner of the house and snickering, “Boy, pawpaw is pulling a good one.” At age 6, I thought he was joking.
A large number of musical offerings made that deep of an imprint on me also. “Steam Heat” was one of those numbers. I only saw the movie “Pajama Game” once as a child; but that number never left me. I couldn’t wait for it to get there, but it was such an enjoyable ride along the way.
I got shivers when they sang “Hey there.” I don’t know if it was the singing or the music because it happened each time the song was sung, which wasn’t always by the same character.
Carlos Santana said once that his music affects you on a molecular level. There may be some truth to that. Why do certain tones shatter glass? Why do some pieces of music make you shiver? The winner of “America’s Got Talent,” Neal E. Boyd, is an opera singer. He always brought tears to my eyes, and I’m not that fond of opera.
“Pajama Game” was first produced in the ‘50s and is still set in that time period today. It would be difficult to update without totally rewriting the script. The premise that a union, today, of fighting so hard for seven-and-a-half cents would be ludicrous. These days, half of the youngsters wouldn’t even bother to pick that much up off the ground. “That’s not money,” is what a great-grandson would tell my grandmother. That would really “get her goat.” Being a product of the depression, she was very frugal. I could see her in a fight for seven-and-a-half cents. Back then that was a good raise; almost a loaf of bread, a trip on the bus or a coke with change back.
It was fun going down memory lane with all the costumes and props.
Always amazing to me is how affective plays are with such minimal sets. “Pajama Game” boasted one of the most comprehensive sets I’ve seen, but was still minimal when you consider the fact it represented a factory.
All of the numbers were a delight; it was a fun show that brought back a touch of normalcy in what has been a rough month of recovery for the entire county. The theater didn’t get off scot free, either. The basement flooded. That wasn’t going to delay the season any longer.
“Tuna Does Vegas” was supposed to kick off the season in September, but because of the active hurricane season, the entire town of Tuna (the third smallest town in Texas), was evacuated and will not grace the Lutcher’s stage until the end of the month.
Once again the Lutcher has pulled off a successful show comparable to productions you would have to go to New York or other “big cities” to see, for reasonable rates.
I can’t wait till “Tuna” gets here. Jim Clark, general manager and president of the board said it is one laugh after another in the first act.
Don’t forget their children’s season either. For $3.50, local students get to see shows that would cost $35 to 40 elsewhere.
Handicap-accessible elements from a recent remodel also made their debut. “Corky” Harmon remarked how nice the rails were.
Margaret Toal thought changes in the traffic pattern of the ladies’ restroom was a great improvement on the usual congestion.
The scene is set for a great season at the Lutcher, check it out!