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North Hills students to perform 'The Pajama Game'

| Wednesday, March 6, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
McKnight Journal
Senior Kelly Gordon, playing the pajama-factory secretary, Mabel, top left, , chats with junior Courtney Porto, playing Gladys Hotchkiss, during rehearsal for North Hills Senior High School's production of 'The Pajama Game' on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. Randy Jarosz | For the McKnight Journal
McKnight Journal
Senior Malcolm Burke, playing Sid Sorokin, in front, and junior Nate Spear, playing Max, practice a dance routine during a rehearsal for North Hills Senior High School's production of 'The Pajama Game' on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. Randy Jarosz | For the McKnight Journal
McKnight Journal
Senior Jared Bogolea, playing Vernon Hines, practices his lines during a rehearsal for North Hills Senior High School's production of 'The Pajama Game' on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. Randy Jarosz | For the McKnight Journal
McKnight Journal
Junior Nate Spear, playing Max, at left, and sophomore Noah Pepmeyer, playing a pajama-factory worker, practice their lines during a rehearsal for North Hills Senior High School's production of 'The Pajama Game' on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. Randy Jarosz | For the McKnight Journal
McKnight Journal
Junior Kara Hoffman, playing a pajama-factory worker, at left, and junior Jamie Ramsey, playing Poopsie, rehearse the opening act of North Hills Senior High School's production of 'The Pajama Game' on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. Randy Jarosz | For the McKnight Journal
McKnight Journal
Sophomore Tessa Dilts, at left, and freshman Victoria Noker, playing pajama-factory workers, toss clothing to each other while rehearsing for North Hills Senior High School's production of 'The Pajama Game' on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. Randy Jarosz | For the McKnight Journal

Many of this year's costumes for “The Pajama Game,” North Hills Senior High School's spring musical, are imported

Kathy Pozar, a North Hills teacher and assistant director, costume and makeup designer for the musical, shopped on eBay.

Packages have arrived daily from Europe, China and other places and have kept the delivery personnel amused and intrigued.

“One suit came from Romania,” Pozar, 60, of Ross Township, said.

She even managed to find an Esther Williams-style swimsuit for one of the characters to wear in the picnic scene.

But even more interesting is that inside the vintage 1950s garments, labels extol with pride that the clothing was made in America. That's perfectly fitting for a musical that tells the story of boy meets girl during a labor dispute in a pajama factory in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

The musical will be performed March 14 to 16 and 21 to 23 in the auditorium at North Hills Senior High School in Ross.

“This is a nice ensemble piece with larger parts,” said Glen Richey, director, who can count 23 musicals he has led at the high school. “This was easy to cast. The younger kids are very good, and we're in good shape for next year.”

He is pleased with the dancing abilities of cast members. For the big “Steam Heat” number, all the performers will be on stage with top hats showing off the choreography of Lauren Sarazen of Ross by the end of the song.

“It's dancey but not “Dames at Sea” dancey,” Richey, 66, of McCandless, said. “Next year, we will tap.”

Malcolm Burke, an 18-year-old senior from Ross, will take the lead as Sid Sorokin, the handsome new factory superintendent who falls in love with Catherine “Babe” Williams, the leader of the Union Grievance Committee, played by Patrice Bailey, 17, of Ross.

Burke won applause last year as Alfred Doolittle in “My Fair Lady.”

“He was a fun character,” Burke said. “That was more of a character piece. This is just a male romantic lead. I'm management, and she's an employee. That's a forbidden thing.”

Alfred had a cockney costume; Sid just wears a suit.

“The costumes are very simple and easy to move in,” Bailey said about the flouncy skirts. “They're colorful and very pretty.”

She discovered theater arts in the seventh grade and traded in her flute for the footlights.

“I never had a lead role,” she said. “It's really daunting and exciting and a lot of hard work.”

Because she and Burke have been friends, there will be no problem with the kissing scenes.

“It won't be weird,” she said.

The senior said she'll make her college minor theater.

“The cast has really come together,” said Kelly Gordon, who will play Mabel, the mother hen of the factory and Sorokin's secretary.

Acting has been part of her life for years, as she started with the Saltworks Theatre Company in Pittsburgh. She's changing the more senior role of Mabel a bit. She'll take her from a woman in her 50s to one in her 30s.

“I'll be more friendly with the women in the factory,” she said. “This is a good show for kids. There's a stage full of color.”

Jared Bogolea, a senior from Ross Township, performs as Vernon Hines, the factory timekeeper.

“The character's different, precise with everything he does,” he said. “He's challenging.”

The 17-year-old takes to the stage first with the ladies busily sewing on their machines with “Racing With the Clock.”

Having acted in “My Fair Lady” last year with a cast of mostly seniors, he's aware of the bonding that each year's performers experience.

But they all agree, the cast really is coming together.

“I'm really proud of that,” Gordon said. “We're working really hard, and it's showing.”

Dona S. Dreeland is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6353 or ddreeland@tribweb.com.

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