ACTS takes on management in ‘The Pajama Game’

By By Cliff Seiber / American Press

The cast of ACTS’ latest production will be singing “The pajama game, that’s the game I’m in” on opening night Friday, March

15, and the two subsequent weekends as Walt Kiser directs what he terms one of America’s best-known musical plays.

Performances of “The Pajama Game” will be Fridays through Sundays, March 15-17 and March 22-24, in the 1 Reid St. theater,

at the corner of Railroad Avenue.

The play opened on Broadway in 1954 starring Job Raitt, father of singer Bonnie Raitt, and Janis Page in the leads.

A relatively unknown understudy was called into service in the role of Gladys Hotchkiss, Kiser said. It was in her tenure

of several months in the role that Shirley MacLaine was discovered by Hollywood and signed by Paramount Studios.

“Two cast members wrote to Ms. MacLaine and she sent us an autographed photo,” he said.

The play and 1957 movie are best remembered for the songs “Steam Heat,” “712 Cents,” “Hey There” and “Hernando’s Hideaway,” Kiser said. Doris Day replaced Page in the movie, which otherwise used most

of the original Broadway cast.

The story centers on a labor dispute in

a Midwestern garment factory where management is resisting the

employees’ union-organizing

movement, mainly over a demand for a raise of 712 cents.

Romantic fraternizing between labor and management, as well as among workers and union organizers, adds conflict that keeps

the plot interesting.

Cast as Sid Sorokin is ACTS stage

veteran Gabi Fontenot (“Beauty and the Beast,” “Kiss Me Kate”), and as

Babe, St. Louis Catholic

High School senior Emmie Lancon (“Into the Woods”). Other cast

members are Matt Tonkovich (“South Pacific,” “A Funny Thing

Happened on the Way to the Forum”) as Vernon Hines; Paula McCain

(“A Christmas Story,” “Lilies of the Field”) as Gladys; Kelly

Rowland (“Into the Woods,” “The Importance of Being Earnest”) as

Mabel; Matt Dye (“A Christmas Story,” “Kiss Me Kate”) as

president of the union.

Zac Hammons (“South Pacific”) plays the

boss, Hasler; John Paul Primeaux makes his ACTS debut as Max; Teresa

Labbit (“Auntie

Mame,” “Annie Warbucks”) plays Mae; Anjo Elsbury (“Auntie Mame,”

“Dirty Work at the Crossroads”) is Poopsie; Chanda Withers

(“Dirty Work at the Crossroads”) plays Brenda; Anita Fields-Gold

(“Lilies of the Field,” “Oliver”) plays Virginia; Casey Doucet

makes his debut as Joe; Roselie Kelly makes her debut as Sandra;

Jonathan Frantz makes his ACTS debut as Charlie; Bob Jines,

set builder at ACTS, plays Pops; and ACTS board president Rebecca

Pack (“Lilies of the Field,” “Chicago”) is Carmen.

“The Pajama Game” is produced by Betsy

Doucet, stage managed by Diane Flatt and choreographed by Cathy Kurth,

assisted by

Kristen Harrell. Neil Quinn, a music teacher at LaGrange High

School, directs a six-piece orchestra and was rehearsal pianist.

If you go

Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. Fridays, March 15 and 22, and Saturday, March 16 and 23, and at 3 p.m. Sundays, March 17

and 24.

Tickets are $30 for adults and $15 for

students with a valid ID. Tickets may be purchased online at

actstheatre.com or by

calling 433-ACTS. Vouchers for tickets may be purchased at the

Civic Center box office, Moss Bluff Flower and Gift, and Lakeshore

Medic Pharmacy on Enterprise.

Tickets may also be purchased at the door with cash, check or Mastercard/Visa as they remain available.