‘The Pajama Game’ debuts Friday

Sandusky High production features intricate dances, songs
Lori Demres
Mar 19, 2014
Despite a rehearsal schedule shortened by 13 snow days, the show must go on. And the directors, cast and crew of Sandusky High School’s production of “The Pajama Game” are ready and eager to make it happen.

SHS choir director Melanie Mork first got the idea for “The Pajama Game” from last year’s artistic director, Karen Mears. After Mears saw Pam Shirtz choreograph “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” she suggested the next musical should be one in which Bob Fosse was the choreographer.

Want to go?
•WHAT: “The Pajama Game,” by Sandusky High School
•WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday; doors open 30 minutes before show
•WHERE: Sandusky High School
•COST: $6 adults, $5 seniors, $4 students. Reservations not necessary.

“He has a distinct style that I love,” said Shirtz, choreographer for “The Pajama Game,” her second show at Sandusky High School.

Fosse’s unique style is not difficult, but it is precise, such as specific placement of hands and hips. On the flip side, however, there are very fluid movements, and Fosse is also known for turned-in knees, sideways shuffling, rolled shoulders and jazz hands.

Shirtz does a lot of breakdown, reviewing and notes. The students who worked with her previously seem to catch on more quickly, because they already know her methods.

“The entire cast has four numbers to perform” Shirtz said.

That’s quite a bit for those who haven’t been taught dance.

“Some of the dance moves are pretty intricate, and I have them doing different things in the same number so you can’t watch the person in front of you or next to you,” Shirtz said. “You have to be able to know your own moves”

There is a dream ballet, and dance auditions were held to determine those who had specialized dance training.

Of the 48 students in the cast, four or five girls have dance experience.

Mimi Miller is in the most dance numbers, but not all 11.

“I danced until about eighth grade then stopped because I got involved in too many other things,” Miller said.

“The Pajama Game” is set in 1954 and revolves around the employees of the Sleeptite Pajama Factory, who are looking to get a 71/2 cent raise. In the movie, Doris Day portrays the feisty employee representative who ends up toe to toe with her superintendent. The most notable song is “Steam Heat” which utilizes bowler hats — another aspect of Fosse’s influence. It’s said he liked to use hats a lot since he was bald and self-conscious.

Mork is the producer and musical director for “The Pajama Game.” Charlene Gardner is the artistic director, and Matt Kennedy directs the pit orchestra.

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