‘The Pajama Game’ opens tonight at BHS

The musical ‘The Pajama Game’ opens tonight at Bloomfield High School and will continue through the weekend with a final matinee on Sunday. Above, the students during a rehearsal last week.
The musical ‘The Pajama Game’ opens tonight at Bloomfield High School and will continue through the weekend with a final matinee on Sunday. Above, the students during a rehearsal last week.

BLOOMFIELD, NJ — The Bloomfield High School Winter Musical of “The Pajama Game” will be presented in the high school auditorium Thursday, Friday and and Saturday nights, Feb. 25, 26 and 27, at 7:30 p.m. There will also be a 2 p.m. matinee Sunday, Feb. 28. Admission will be charged.

The producer and director of the show is BHS theater arts teacher Brandon Doemling.
“This is one of the first shows that put Bob Fosse on the map as a choreographer,” Doemling said at a recent rehearsal. “I did this show in my senior high school year. I was the character “Prez.”

Doemling said he chose the musical for several reasons.
“This is a classic ‘50s musical,” he said. “Also, the social issues now, where we are with our economy. This story is about a union struggling for a living wage. It’s relevant.”

Doemling also wanted to produce the play that is not staged very often.
“I’m trying to introduce something the kids wouldn’t come across,” Doemling said. “Also, it’s a balancing act with the talent.”
“The Pajama Game” has music and lyrics by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross. It opened on Broadway in May 1954, won the Tony for Best Musical, and ran for 1,063 performances. It was revived in 1973 and 2006. In 2006, it won a Tony, for Best Revival of a Musical. The plot revolves around a love match and a labor dispute in a pajama factory. The standard “Hey There” is from the show. The 1957 movie starred doris Day and John Raitt.

Another reason Doemling picked this show is because it will give senior Gabby Pandolfo a chance to dance.
“She’s a really strong dancer,” Doemling said. “She’s been relegated to ensemble for the last three years. There hasn’t been a show here with a featured dance part. This one does. This one has that. That’s one of the main reasons. That’s the part of Gladys.”

He also pointed out another senior performer, Derrel Wright. Derrel performed in “The Crucible,” “Almost Maine,” and “Once Upon a Time on a Mattress.”

“He’s really grown a lot,” Doemling said. “The acting, the singing, as a person. It’s one of the satisfactions of doing this. It doesn’t always happen.”

Doemling said 70 students auditioned for 35 parts. In the orchestra, students will play alongside professionals.
“I really wanted to incorporate students in the orchestra,” he said. “About 65 percent of the orchestra are students.”

In the fall, Doemling said that the high school will offer two more theater arts classes. They will be stagecraft and theater production. The production class will produce small plays in the former TV studio which has been turned into a black box theater. Theater arts I and II will continue to be offered.

This spring, BHS theater arts will present “This is Us.” Doemling said it is a theatrical concert featuring poetry, music and dance.

But tonight, tomorrow night or over the weekend, see “The Pajama Game,” if love ever made a fool of you.

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