Feb. 22 was the debut performance of the Tony award-winning Broadway musical "The Pajama Game," presented by the Department of Theatre and Dance at Southeast Missouri State University's River Campus.
The musical is based on the novel "7 1/2 Cents" by Richard Bissell. It first appeared on the Broadway stage in 1954.
"The Pajama Game" follows the happenings at Sleep-Tite Pajama Factory in the 1950s, when the union is demanding a seven and one-half cent pay raise and an untimely romance between the new factory superintendent Sid Sorokin, played by Jacob Buckenmyer, and the head of the grievance committee Babe Williams, played by Sami Gross, begins to blossom.
The two find themselves head-over-heels in love while their co-workers, including the popular couple made up of efficiency expert Vernon Hines, played by Caleb Schaaf, and the company president's secretary Gladys, played by Tayloir Pace, deal with uncertainties in their own relationships through comedic attempts to stifle jealousy.
The fairytale ends when the union's request for a raise is denied, leading Babe to kick a piece of machinery and causes a breakdown of the equipment. Reluctantly, Sid fires Babe and the two end their relationship. Babe then works even harder with the grievance committee, formulating ways to make a stir in the factory.
Sid, who is determined to win Babe back and solve the raise disagreement for the Union Rally, persuades Gladys to grant him the key to the company president's firm books. Upon discovering President Hasler had added the seven and one-half cents to production cost, keeping the profit for himself, Sid delivers the news to the Union Rally. The factory returns to its break-neck speed of pajama production and Babe returns to Sid's arms.
Sarah Pursley, a freshman journalism and history major, enjoyed the musical and dance numbers.
"I like the style of it, [and I] like the era of the play," Pursley said. "The fifties are really cool.
"The dancing, I think, is phenomenal, more so than the acting scenes. I feel like you're getting more out of the play through the dancing and the singing. That's where the story's told more, rather than the conversation."
Gross, a junior theatre major who plays Babe, was confident in the cast's debut.
"It went really well," Gross said. "I think the energy was high because it was our opening night, and we got a lot of feedback from the audience, so it was a lot of fun. And we just fed off of that, which made our adrenaline go up even more, so I think it went really well."
"The Pajama Game" will be performed in the Donald C. Bedell Performance Hall at the River Campus on Feb. 23 and 25 at 7:30 p.m., Feb. 24 at 8 p.m. and Feb. 26 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $3 with a Southeast student ID, and tickets for the general public can be purchased for $17 or $20 depending on seating.