Saturday, March 04, 2006


I loved this show and the movie
John Podhoretz at NRO the name of a 1954 Broadway musical with an unlikely setting: An Iowa clothing factory where the workers are on the verge of a strike. It has just been revived on Broadway in a production so sprightly and rousing that it could turn even the managing director of the National Right to Work Committee into a union man. A very good and faithful movie version was released in 1957 starring Doris Day and the great midcentury musical star John Raitt, but there's nothing like seeing a stage show as it was meant to be seen. The crooner-pianist Harry Connick Jr. makes a sensational stage debut as a tough and principled shop superintendent who falls in love with the head of the union grievance committee. Some unfortunate lines have been added to the 1954 script turning the factory owner into a McCarthyite thug, but that's only about a minute of nonsense in the course of nearly three hours of exhilaration. At the show's high point, Connick hits the ivories onstage as he plays a stride-piano version of the hilarious tango, "Hernando's Hideaway" -- a moment as sheerly joyous as any in my 35 years of theatergoing. The Pajama Game is a very tough ticket, because of its deservedly ecstatic notices and Connick's fame. But if you are planning a trip to New York at any time this year, I urge you to do anything and everything you can to secure seats to this production, which may be the best revival I've ever seen. Take a bow, Harry."


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