By Julie Obermiller
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — With the debate for raising the minimum wage a hot news topic right now, workers of other eras remember the struggle for pennies. The latest musical to grace the stage at Barker High School turns the fight for a seven-and-a-half cent raise into a comic love story with an underlying social message.
Set in 1950s Iowa, The Pajama Game follows the story of Sid Sorokin the new Sleep Tite Pajama Factory superintendent from Chicago, as he tries to prove his worth in a “new town.”
The Pajama Game production is brimming with songs and dances that have become popular musical theatre standards, including “Hey There, (you with the stars in your eyes),” “Steam Heat” and “Hernando’s Hideaway.”
Barker’s award-winning Musical Theatre Production Club, led by adviser Drew Burke, has garnered praise every year for the professional quality of their shows.
“For my first time ever directing, I wanted to choose a show that would really suit the students we had. We have a lot of talented actors and a very creative ensemble, so I wanted to showcase many students in little ways while still having a large enough opportunity for the ensemble. There were so many shows that were close but not just right. As soon as I came across the Pajama Game I realized that it was the right choice for our cast with a great blend of leads, supporting roles and ensemble, a score that sticks with you and a story that is accessible to all audiences. I am very happy with what this production is shaping up to be,” Burke said.
Shows are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. March 14 and 15 and 3 p.m. March 16. General admission seating is $5 and tickets are available now in the high school office.
Musical department staff Jeff Rappold and Kathy Dick are working with orchestra and vocals and Cheryl Johnson is choreographer. Bill Bodine is in charge of sound and Jim Luckman has control of lighting. Burke and the music staff spend many months getting actors and musicians in sync for the performances.
The talented cast includes Nicholas Mace as Sid Sorokin, Hayley Richbart as Babe Williams, Morgan Fay as Vernon Hines, Faiza Rahman as Gladys, Ben Schian as Prez, Allison Austin as Mae,Ben Johnson as Mr. Hassler, Abigail Voss as Mabel, Christopher Sweeney as Max, Kyler Moeller as Charlie, Brooke Bodine as Brenda, Monique Vargas as Poopsie, Mason White as Pop Williams, Leah Perkins as Joe, Matthew Pestinger and Josh Richbart as helpers, Brooke Targus as Virginia, Sarah Costello as Mara, Toon Aurnoppakhun as Dictophone Machine, Dustin Walters as Anderson, Melissa Pestinger as Sandra, Phoebe Elter as Carmen, Jordynn Donner as Charlene, Marianna Cantella as Ann, Kamilah Robinson as Doris, Katie Przybyl as Rita Hayworth and Caera Elter as a factory girl.
Also part of the ensemble are Abby Bachman, Alaina Clementi, Kelsie Engert, Perrine Gigandet, Maya Gooding, Cassidy Granchelli, Sam Nairne and Grace Weller.
Behind the scenes, transforming 2014 Barker into 1950s Iowa, are stage crew members Garrett Dwyer, Patrick Dwyer, Lucas Johnson, Mitchell Johnson, Jenna Hathaway and Noel Vasquez.
General admission tickets will be available at the doors, which open one half hour before each performance. The Barker Music Parents Club invites theatre-goers to take a few minutes during intermission to visit their refreshment tables for a quick snack before settling in to enjoy the rest of the show.