Theatre at the Center Artistic Director Linda Fortunato has cast Curtis Bannister as Sid, Elizabeth Telford as Babe, Cynthia Carter as Mabel, Kelly Felthous as Gladys, Jason Grimm as Hines, Dan Klarer as Prez, Rick Rapp as Pop and Steve Silver as Mr. Hasler in the musical comedy romance The Pajama Game. Rounding out the cast of talented performers are Matt Casey, Andrew MacNaughton, Maggie Malaney, Thomas Ortiz, Sierra Schnack, Aalon Smith, and swings Shannon McEldowney and Shea Pender. Fortunato will direct, Christopher Chase Carter is the choreographer and William Underwood is the music director. Previews begin September 12 with an Opening Night on September 15 and a continued run through October 13.
The Pajama Game is a musical based on the 1953 novel 7 ½ Cents by Richard Bissell that opened on Broadway in 1954 with music and lyrics by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross and book by George Abbott and Richard Bissell. The Tony Award winner also inspired the 1957 film starring Doris Day with songs such as “Steam Heat,” “Hey There” and “Hernando’s Hideaway.” The musical comedy takes place in the Sleep-Tite pajama factory where workers demand a 7 ½ cent raise with both sides unwilling to budge. When the head of the union grievance committee meets her new supervisor, love changes the game.
Curtis Bannister (Sid Sorokin), making his debut at TATC, is described by Time-Out magazine as “radiating with slowly simmering energy.” Bannister is known for his television role as firefighter Reimers on NBC’s Chicago Fire. He has also been seen as the Celebrant in Bernstein’s Mass, directed by Kevin Newbury and filmed for PBS’s Great Performances. Previous 2019 stage performances include his debut with the St. Petersburg Opera as Paul in Kiss Me, Kate.
Elizabeth Telford (Babe) returns to TATC where she last appeared as Miss Grace Farrell in Annie Warbucks. Other Chicagoland credits include work with the Marriott Theatre, Music Theater Works, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Provision Theater, Porchlight Music Theatre, BoHo Theatre, The Music Theatre Company and Northbrook Theatre. Regionally, she has performed with the Old Globe Theatre, Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, Skylight Music Theatre, First Stage Theatre, and the Utah Shakespeare Festival.
Cynthia F. Carter (Mabel) is making her debut at TATC. Previous works include Mahalia Jackson Moving through the Light and Woman of Soul, both at Black Ensemble Theater, The Nativity at Congo Square Theater Company, Tangled at ETA Creative Arts Theater and Crowns at Chicago State University.
Kelly Felthous (Gladys) returns to TATC after making her debut earlier this year as Ruby in Dames at Sea. Chicago credits include Zaneeta in The Music Man at The Goodman Theatre, Roxie Hart in Chicago The Musical (Jeff nomination) and Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors at Drury Lane, Sally Bowles in Cabaret at the Paramount Theatre and Gertrude in Seussical at the Marriott. New York credits include the original companies of Trip of Love and Max and Ruby. National tours include Wicked and Grease.
Jason Grimm (Hines) is making his debut at TATC. His Chicago credits include The Suspects in Murder for Two (Jeff Award), How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, and Singin’ in the Rain at the Marriott Theatre and Ebenezer Scrooge in Q Brothers Christmas Carol at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre.
Rick Rapp (Pop) returns to TATC in his fourth production, having appeared as the Judge in Miracle on 34th Street, Joseph in A Wonderful Life and Senator Evergreen in Nice Work If You Can Get It. He recently appeared as J.B. Biggley in How to Succeed in Business at Music Theatre Works and Father in All That He Was at Pride Films and Plays. Rick is also the voice of Mr. Monopoly for online and casino gaming.
Linda Fortunato is in her fourth season as Theatre at the Center’s Artistic Director, where her credits include directing and choreographing Dames at Sea, Miracle on 34th Street: The Musical, Ghost: The Musical, Steel Magnolias, Big River, The Tin Woman, Cabaret, Annie Warbucks, and A Christmas Story. Fortunato also served as choreographer for Spamalot, Big Fish, A Christmas Carol: The Musical, Guys and Dolls, Crazy for You and Fiddler on the Roof. She has been nominated for five Joseph Jefferson Awards for her work as a choreographer and director and received both the Equity and Non-Equity Jeff Awards for Outstanding Choreography in the 2013-2014 season, garnering Theatre at the Center’s first award for her choreography of 42nd Street.
Choreographer Christopher Chase Carter has traveled extensively performing, directing and choreographing for national, regional and local theaters. His choreography credits include A Chorus Line and Gypsy at Porchlight Theatre, Five Guys Named Moe at Court Theatre, Hair and Little Shop of Horrors at Mercury Theater, and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at Paramount Theater. His performance credits at TATC include The Wiz and 42nd Street.
The creative team for The Pajama Game includes Scenic Designer Jack Magaw, Lighting Designer Guy Rhodes, Sound Designer David Samba, Costume Designer Brenda Winstead, Prop Designer Wendy Huber, and Wig Designer Kevin Barthel. Stage manager is Jessica Banaszak. Linda Fortunato is teamed with TATC General Manager Richard Friedman and Ann Davis, TATC Head of Production.
Founded in 1991, the 410-seat TATC is a year round professional theater at its home: The Center for Visual and Performing Arts, 1040 Ridge Road in Munster, Indiana. TATC is an accessible venue with plenty of free parking and is located off I-80/94, just 35 minutes from downtown Chicago.
Performances are 2 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays; 7:30 p.m. Fridays; 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturdays; and 2:30 p.m. on Sundays. Individual ticket prices range from $42 – $46. To purchase individual tickets, call the Box Office at 219-836-3255. Group discounts are available for groups of 11 or more. Student tickets are $20 and gift certificates are also available. For more information on Theatre at the Center, visit www.TheatreAtTheCenter.com.