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"Broadway looks well in pajamas. The bright, brassy, and jubilantly sassy show that opened at the St. James Thursday is not just the best new musical of the season. That would be fairly easy. It's a show that takes a whole barrel full of gleaming new talents, and a handful of stimulating ideas as well, and sends them tumbling in happy profusion over the footlights. THE PAJAMA GAME has a fresh and winning grin on its face from the outset." -Walter Kerr, New York Herald Tribune
"THE PAJAMA GAME is about the best-natured musical you may ever see. It is young and funny and earthy and fast. If the hassle between garment workers and a pajama factory president sounds unlikely as material for a musical comedy, guess again... Last night's audience must have been full of backers, for the applause was stubborn and crazy. But any audience will stop THE PAJAMA GAME over and over, just for the fun of it." -William Hawkins, New York World-Telegram
"The last new musical of the season is the best. It is THE PAJAMA GAME which opened at the St. James last evening with all the uproar of a George Abbott show. He and Richard Bissell put the book together out of Mr. Bissell's recent novel, 7 1/2 Cents. Applying the good old football spirit to a strike in a pajama factory, the book is as good as most though no better. For, like the customers who are now going to pour into the St. James, Mr. Abbott is really interested in the color, humor and revelry of a first-rate musical rumpus. THE PAJAMA GAME fits those specifications exactly. Richard Adler and Jerry Ross have written an exuberant score in any number of good American idioms without self-consciousness. Beginning with an amusing satire of the work tempo in a factory, they produce love songs with more fever than is usual this year; and they manage to get through a long evening enthusiastically in other respects also." -Brooks Atkinson, The New York Times
"Well, here it is, folks, at long last - a superb new musical. THE PAJAMA GAME, which opened at the St. James Theatre last night, is fast, raucous and rollicking; it is the best book show that's hit the town since GUYS AND DOLLS, and it should remain with us seasons to come. This is a whale of an evening in anybody's auditorium. Here is, first of all, a quite acceptable plot; there is also a brilliant and ingratiating score, a brigade of highly skilled performers, a series of charming sets, but the king-size kudos must go to Mr. George Abbott who, as co-author and director, has put together with such pace and imagination that almost no moment remains unfulfilled. If they had gratified last night's hysterical demands for encores the performance would still be in progress." -John McClain, Journal American
THE PAJAMA GAME had successful pre-Broadway runs in New Haven and Boston, and opened at the St. James Theatre in New York on May 13, 1954, to great reviews. It starred John Raitt as Sid Sorokin, Janis Paige as Babe Williams, Eddie Foy, Jr. as Hines, and Carol Haney as Gladys. Shirley MacLaine, who was Haney's understudy, was discovered by Hollywood producer Hal Wallis, who happened to be in the audience on a night she went on for Haney. The show closed in 1956 after 1,063 performances, becoming only the eighth musical in Broadway history to run over 1,000 performances. Columbia Records produced the original cast recording. The show toured for two years with Larry Douglass and Fran Warren playing Sid and Babe.