Lay­men Play­men stage ‘The Pa­jama Game’

North Penn Life - - Front Page - By Brian Binga­man bbinga­man@jour­nalregis­ter.com

In­spi­ra­tion can come at un­ex­pected times in un­ex­pected places.

Lay­men Play­men Pres­i­dent Fred Wiesinger, a self-de­scribed hard­hat-and­work-boots-wear­ing me­chan­i­cal en­gi­neer, said he was lis­ten­ing to Sir­ius uM’s Broad­way chan­nel while driv­ing to coastal Delaware when a song from the mu­si­cal com­edy “The Pa­jama Game” came on.

That’s what led to the Chris­tian com­mu­nity the­ater group’s de­ci­sion to make it the group’s 2Sth an­nual pro­duc­tion this year.

Wiesinger said although “The Pa­jama Game” doesn’t have the same name recog­ni­tion as their past shows, “the songs are fun and catchy.”

The story deals with a la­bor dis­pute at a pa­jama fac­tory, where worker de­mands for a pay raise are go­ing un­heeded. In the midst of the ten­sion, love blos­soms be­tween Babe, the griev­ance com­mit­tee head, and Sid, the new fac­tory su­per­in­ten­dent.

Based on the novel “7½ Cents” by Richard Bis­sell, “The Pa­jama Game” holds the dis­tinc­tion of be­ing the first Broad­way show for renowned chore­og­ra­pher Bob Fosse and was made into a film star­ring Doris Day.

“Peo­ple are go­ing to leave the show hum­ming and whistling the songs,” Wieis­nger said, re­fer­ring to the score by Richard Alder and Jerry Ross, in­clud­ing the songs “Hey There,” “Steam Heat” and “Her­nando’s Hide­away.”

The pro­duc­tion will fea­ture a live orches­tra con­ducted by re­tired North Penn mu­sic ed­u­ca­tor Davis Gier­sch.

This will be the sec­ond year the the­ater group has per­formed in the Stringer Au­di­to­rium of Lans­dale rnited Methodist Church. The Lay­men Play­men’s long-time per­for­mance space in the Chris­tian ed­u­ca­tion wing of Grace Lutheran Church in Hat­field caught fire New Year’s Eve day 2011 and has since been de­mol­ished.

Wiesinger said that de­spite dev­as­tat­ing equip­ment losses from the fire, it was a teach­able moment for the younger mem­bers of the cast.

“It’s an im­por­tant les­son for them not to give up just be­cause things got tough,” he said.

The group’s light­ing and sound de­signer, John Stangl — one of two peo­ple who has par­tic­i­pated in ev­ery sin­gle Lay­man Play­men show — said that the group has re­ceived do­na­tions and been able to pur­chase equip­ment that it oth­er­wise would usu­ally rent.

“It gives me a cre­ative out­let for what I like do­ing. It’s also a wor­thy cause. The pro­ceeds go to ben­e­fit the needy in the Hat­field com­mu­nity,” Stangl said.

rn­for­tu­nately, the new year brought an­other chal­lenge. Ac­cord­ing to Wiesinger, the Lay­men Play­men web­site was hacked, and the lay­men­play­men.org do­main has been sus­pended as a re­sult. De­spite the set­back, those in­volved with the pro­duc­tion are us­ing Face­book to spread the word about “The Pa­jama Game.”

“We have a de­cent fol­low­ing in the com­mu­nity. We’ve worked hard to keep our prices down,” he said.

Pho­tos by GE­OFF PAT­TON

The Lay­men Play­men re­hearse their pro­duc­tion of “The Pa­jama Game.”

The Lay­men Play­men re­hearse their pro­duc­tion of “The Pa­jama Game.”

Mary Cather­ine Reilly and Brian Shapella re­hearse a scene in the Lay­men Play­men pro­duc­tion of “The Pa­jama Game.”

Young mem­bers of the Lay­men Play­men re­hearse their pro­duc­tion of “The Pa­jama Game.”

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