The Pajama Guy
Still a force to be reckoned with, composer/lyricist Richard Adler talks about what's happening (and what may be happening) with The Pajama Game.
The Adler/Ross partnership was unusual in that both men wrote music and lyrics, rather than divvying up those duties. Sadly, whatever monster hit shows they might have written beyond the Big Two noted above were lost to the ages when Ross died very, very young in 1955; Adler relates that, "at the suggestion of my old friend Cole Porter," he never attempted to replace Ross with another partner.
"About three or for years ago," Adler--who has homes in Southampton and also in Manhattan, "about 100 yards from the Metropolitan Museum of Art"--wrote a new song for The Pajama Game. It's a ballad titled "If You Win, You Lose" and it is now included in rental materials for the show. So, will the song be heard in the upcoming Encores! production of Pajama Game? "Of course," replies Adler. "It's part of the score now. Everywhere the show is performed, that song has to be done. It replaces something I never liked, the reprise of 'Hey There.' In those days, a reprise was a way of pushing a song into popularity. 'If You Win, You Lose' is a different song that has the same message as the 'Hey There' reprise." Sharp-eared listeners will note that two lines of lyrics in the new number were taken almost verbatim from the old one: "Though you're acting cold to him / Your poor heart is sold to him."
Adler hopes for a Broadway revival of the show next year starring Rebecca Luker, who accompanied Mr. A. to the opening performance of the Wagner production on April 3. In addressing the audience prior to the performance, Adler extolled Luker--most recently seen and heard on Broadway as Marian the Librarian in The Music Man--as perfect for Babe Williams, the role originally played in The Pajama Game on Broadway by Janis Paige and in the film version by Doris Day. Prior to that, Encores! will present the show at City Center, May 2-6, with Karen Ziemba as Babe.