By Samantha McGuire
Anyone who is familiar with Villanova Student Musical Theatre knows how much passion, enthusiasm and hard work goes into its performances.
Indeed, VSMT has a reputation for showcasing the musical, dancing and acting abilities of University students. Their newest production, “The Pajama Game,” is no exception.
Originally a novel written by Richard Bissell entitled “7½ Cents,” “The Pajama Game” was first musically adapted and performed on Broadway in 1954 where it ran for 1,063 performances and eventually won the Tony award for best musical. Set in the 1950’s, the action takes place largely in a pajama factory, with the workers as the main characters.
Between the gossip, romantic flings, drunken antics and shady corruption, the colorful characters of the Sleep-Tite factory keep the audience entertained from beginning to end.
However, “The Pajama Game,” with its banter-like dialogue and playful sarcasm, also touches upon some serious issues such as fair labor and gender roles. The workers at Sleep-Tite undertake a battle for a well-deserved pay raise, and their quest is comical, chaotic and at times heartrending.
There were definitely a few stars in the production that shone particularly brightly.
Junior Katrina Michalewski was amazing as the female lead Babe Williams, with arguably the best vocal performance of the play. Sassy and courageous, Babe is the antithesis of a damsel in distress; she is the heroine the audience will root for until the end.
Sophomore Pat Walsh provided brilliant comedic relief in the form of neurotic Vernon Hines with his knife–throwing and overbearing love for Gladys.
Senior Robert Ryan, acting the role of Prez, gave a strong and enjoyable acting performance. Ryan created a character in Prez that was both abhorrently sleazy and yet irresistibly loveable, something which is no easy feat.
Although the students delivered spectacular performances, that by no means renders the others insignificant. The numbers featuring the whole cast were by far the most enjoyable, especially “Once a Year Day” as well as the aptly named piece “7½ Cents.”
Each character is given a brief chance to showcase their talent, and no one disappoints. The same can be said for the accompanying orchestra, which played for about two and a half hours nearly without pause, all the while never missing a note or a beat.
“The experience has been incredible,” freshman Austin Wild said of his recent involvement in VSMT.
“I really enjoy the company of everyone I’ve met that is affiliated with VSMT, whether it be in the show or the club in general.”
“Especially starting as a freshman, it has really made my Villanova experience special because I have been able to have such a tight–knit group of friends early on that spans across all grades and interests.”
VSMT successfully put on a show that both it and its audience are clearly enthralled by.
Its passion and gusto are so infectious that no one in the auditorium will leave disappointed.