Arena Stage The Mead Center for American Theater MY ACCOUNT
The Pajama Game
Event Calendar

The Pajama Game

Book by George Abbott and Richard Bissell
Music and Lyrics by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross
Directed by Alan Paul
Choreographed by Parker Esse
Music Direction by James Cunningham

Based on the novel
7½ Cents by Richard Bissell
October 27 — December 24, 2017
Fichandler Stage

The Sleep-Tite Pajama Factory is a tiptop model of efficiency — so why are things getting so steamy? It could have something to do with how hard new superintendent Sid Sorokin has fallen for Babe Williams, the trouble-making head of the union grievance committee. Sparks really start to fly when a workers’ strike pits management against labor and ignites an outrageous battle of the sexes. Packed with seductive dance numbers like “Steam Heat” and “Hernando’s Hideaway,” the best way to ensure a good night’s rest during the hectic holiday season is to play The Pajama Game!

The Pajama Game is generously sponsored by and .
Additional support is provided by George and Duffy Ftikas and Sheila Stampfli.
Choreography is sponsored by Virginia McGehee Friend.


BRITNEY COLEMAN (Babe) is thrilled to make her Arena Stage debut. She has recently appeared on Broadway in the revival of Sunset Boulevard starring Glenn Close and performed with the first national tour of Beautiful: The Carole King Musical. Regional credits include Guenevere in David Lee and Steve Orich’s eight-person adaptation of Camelot (Two River Theater and Westport Country Playhouse) opposite Robert Sean Leonard and appearances at The Old Globe, Theater Under the Stars, Marriott Lincolnshire and North Shore Music Theater. She performed in A Very Potter…Musical/Sequel/Senior Year featuring Darren Criss and her fellow Starkids. Britney received her B.F.A. from University of Michigan.

EDWARD GERO (Hasler)’s Arena Stage credits include Justice Antonin Scalia in The Originalist, Benjamin Hubbard in The Little Foxes and Mark Rothko in Red. He is a four-time Helen Hayes Award winner and 15-time nominee. Regional credits include The Originalist (Asolo Repertory, Pasadena Playhouse, Court Theatre); Red and King Lear (Goodman); Nixon’s Nixon and Night Alive (Round House); Sweeney Todd (Signature Theatre); Scrooge in A Christmas Carol (Ford’s Theatre); and American Buffalo, Shining City and Skylight (Studio Theatre). In 32 seasons with Shakespeare Theatre Company, his 70+ roles include Henry IV, Richard II and Macbeth. Film/TV credits include House of Cards, TURN: Washington’s Spies, Die Hard 2, Striking Distance and narrations for Discovery Channel and PBS. He is a Ten Chimneys 2015 Lunt-Fontanne Fellow and associate professor of theater at George Mason University.

DONNA MCKECHNIE (Mabel) makes her Arena Stage debut. Broadway credits include A Chorus Line (original company, Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical), How To Succeed in Business…, The Education of Hyman Kaplan, choreographer/actress in Sondheim: A Musical Tribute, Promises-Promises, Company, On The Town, State Fair (Fred Astaire Award) and The Visit. Donna co-starred in The Wild Party (West End), starred in and choreographed productions in London, Tokyo and Paris and was invited by Bob Fosse to lead the Sweet Charity national tour. Regional credits include Follies, Mack and Mabel, Gypsy, The Glass Menagerie and symphony orchestra appearances. Film/TV credits include Fame, Cheers, Dark Shadows, Every Little Step and The Little Prince. Donna released a memoir, Time Steps: My Musical Comedy Life, and is touring her one-woman show, Same Place: Another Time.

Additional casting to be announced at a later date.


GEORGE ABBOTT (Book Writer) had one of the most active and distinguished careers in the entire history of the American theater as an actor, director, writer and producer. He directed his first musical, Rodgers and Hart’s Jumbo, in 1935 and other directorial highlights include A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum, On Your Toes, The Boys From Syracuse, Pal Joey, On the Town, The Pajama Game, Damn Yankees and Once Upon a Mattress. He received numerous awards, including a Pulitzer Price for Fiorello!, a New York Drama Critics Circle Award, four Donaldson Awards, four Tony Awards, a Handel Medallion from the City of New York and he was a Kennedy Center honoree. He died in 1995 at the age of 107.

RICHARD PIKE BISSELL (Book Writer) worked for H.B. Glover Company, the garment factory founded by his grandfather. Bissell then began writing about his experiences and had his stories published in journals such as Atlantic Monthly, Colliers and Esquire. His greatest success came when he wrote a humorous novel based on the activities at the garment factory called 7 ½ Cents. He turned the book into a musical for Broadway, titled The Pajama Game, which was a smash and soon became a motion picture. This experience provided the fodder for his novel Say, Darling, which later became a Broadway musical. He also wrote 12 books and numerous articles over the course of his career.

RICHARD ADLER (Lyricist/Composer) co-composed the music and lyrics for numerous musicals including The Pajama Game and Damn Yankees, both of which won Tony Awards for best musical and best score. His score for his musical Kwamina earned him a Tony Award nomination. Recordings of his biggest hit songs “You Gotta Have Heart,” “Hey There,” “Hernando’s Hideaway,” “Whatever Lola Wants,” “Steam Heat,” “Rags to Riches,” “Another Time, Another Place” and “Everybody Loves a Lover”, have sold over 30 million copies. Richard composed numerous symphonic works, four of which were Pulitzer Prize nominees. Awards and honors include Donaldson Awards, Variety Critics Choice Awards, a London Evening Standard Award, the University of North Carolina Playmakers Lifetime Achievement Award and a National Parks Service Honorary Ranger Award. Richard is a member of the Songwriters’ Hall of Fame.

JERRY ROSS (Lyricist/Composer) died prematurely at age 29, but won Tony Awards for two of the best-loved musicals in Broadway history, The Pajama Game and Damn Yankees – both written with Richard Adler, his frequent collaborator. As a team, they put out a number of catchy songs including the number one hit “Rags to Riches” (sung by Tony Bennett), songs for the musical Almanac (a revue featuring Harry Belafonte, Hermione Gingold, Orson Bean and Polly Bergen) and of course The Pajama Game, an out-and-out hit, playing for 1,063 performances and winning several Tony Awards, including Best Musical and Best Choreography. The Pajama Game was made into a movie starring Doris Day. In 1955, Ross and Adler wrote Damn Yankees and won the Tony Award for Best Musical.

ALAN PAUL (Director) is the Associate Artistic Director of Shakespeare Theatre Company, where he has directed Romeo and Juliet, Kiss Me, Kate, Man of La Mancha, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (Helen Hayes Award for Best Director of a Musical), The Boys from Syracuse and revivals of Twelfth Night and The Winter’s Tale. Local highlights include Penny (Washington National Opera); I Am My Own Wife (Signature Theatre); Fully Committed (MetroStage); The Rocky Horror Show and Silence! The Musical (Studio Theatre 2ndStage); and numerous collaborations with the National Symphony Orchestra. Alan was a 2013 finalist for the European Opera Directing Prize in Vienna, Austria. Upcoming projects include Camelot (Shakespeare Theatre Company) and Man of La Mancha (Portland Opera).

PARKER ESSE (Choreographer) is a five-time Helen Hayes Best Choreography nominee and recipient for Arena Stage’s Oklahoma! Director/choreographer credits include Crazy for You and West Side Story (Finger Lakes Music Theatre Festival). Choreography credits include A Bed and a Chair: A New York Love Affair (Encores!); Carousel, Oliver!, Fiddler on the Roof, Smokey Joe’s Café, The Music Man and The Light in the Piazza (Arena Stage); A Wonderful Life, Fiddler on the Roof, The Most Happy Fella and Carousel (Goodspeed); Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (Ogunquit Playhouse); West Side Story (Signature Theatre); Bells are Ringing and Little Shop of Horrors (Berkshire Theatre Group); and Me and My Girl, Sweet Charity and Guys and Dolls (Shaw Festival). Associate choreographer credits include Broadway’s Finian’s Rainbow and A Tale of Two Cities, and featured performer in Fosse.

JAMES CUNNINGHAM (Music Director)’s New York credits include conductor for Avenue Q, music director for Bunnicula (TheaterworksUSA and original cast recording), music director for Hot Mess in Manhattan (The Araca Project) and music director/original music for Happy Birthday (TACT). National tour credits as pianist/conductor include Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, Spamalot, Evita and Cats. For the past three seasons he has been a frequent music director for Casa Mañana, where his credits include Million Dollar Quartet, Spamalot, Rent, Fiddler on the Roof, Les Misérables, Buddy–The Buddy Holly Story, Always…Patsy Cline and Cats. Regionally, he has also conducted productions for North Carolina Theatre, Sharon Playhouse, Shakespeare Theatre Company, The Engeman Theater, Paper Mill Playhouse, The MUNY and Cape Fear Regional Theatre. He holds degrees from Manhattan School of Music and New York University.


Post-Show Discussions

November 14, 2017 – 7:30 p.m.
November 15, 2017 – 12:00 p.m.
November 29, 2017 – 12:00 p.m.
November 30, 2017 – 8:00 p.m.
December 5, 2017 – 12:00 p.m.


Audio Described

November 18, 2017 – 2:00 p.m.

Open Captioned

November 9, 2017 – 8:00 p.m.
November 15, 2017 – 7:30 p.m.
November 19, 2017 – 2:00 p.m.


The Pajama Game