Interview with Sarah Watkins of The Pajama Game!

How was the process been thus far?

The process for The Pajama Game was pretty good. Each process is unique, and Jess assembled a great group of collaborators to work with. I worked for TMTC a couple years ago, also with Jess as the director, and it was a great experience. I was excited to come back.

What about the production were you most looking forward to?

Definitely the music. When I found out that we were going to take the orchestration in a different direction, I was very excited. Might have something to do with the fact that I love the sound of a banjo. 

Does this production compare to any others you’ve worked on before?

Not particularly. In part because each production is unique and has its own set of constraints and potential. The exciting element about designing for TMTC is the challenge of working in an intimate space. There’s something very refreshing about the experience as there is no place to hide or skimp on the details when you have an audience member who is less than three feet from the action on stage.

Where are you from?

Originally I am from South Korea, but was adopted at a very young age and grew up in southeast Michigan.  I moved to Chicago for graduate school, and now call the city my home.

Do you wear pajamas? If so, what kind?

Yes. I am a sucker for flannel pajama pants no matter what time of the year, and usually it’s paired with my Cubs t-shirt.

What do you love about working in Chicago?

Aside from the sheer quantity of creative work going on at all times in Chicago, I would have to say that there is a strong sense of community – the level of professionalism, collaboration, support and generosity of spirit is remarkable to me.

What do you love about working at TMTC?

Mostly the people. Everyone is so invested and cares very much about creating astounding musical work in an intimate space.

Interview with Charles Cooper, Lighting Designer of The Pajama Game!

Q: How was the process of The Pajama Game for you?

A: Working on The Pajama Game was a great experience. Jess McLeod assembled a great team of collaborators and we all worked really well together to successfully tell the story.

Q: What about the production most interested you?

A: Fleshing out the worlds and environments suggested in the play. In a space this size, scenery and large props are often sparse, so lighting is called upon to help fill in the blanks and complete the scene. I was interested in exploring the wide variety of each environment that we visit in the piece and how they differ. The factory is a cold, dark and shadowy world – we almost wanted it to feel like it is a giant concrete box. This contrasts with that of the picnic which is full of natural and beautiful textured light. We really set out to create that harsh contrast to make the picnic seem like more of an escape. Babe’s house was intended to look warm and a little dingy- as if the entire room was lit by one bare lightbulb. The last place we see this serious contrast is in hernando’s hideaway –initially we see how gladys envisions the bar: a sexy, lurid world of lush and tropical colors. Once the ensemble joins in, we learn that the bar is actually a seedy place that is defined by red, yellow, and green neon light sources.  i have really enjoyed fleshing out these various locations with my collaborators!

Q: How does this production compare to others you’ve worked on previously? 

A: Each production is unique, and I like to think that the artistic lessons that you learn on one naturally lead into the next one. The diversity of those experiences is what makes being a theatrical designer an exciting career.  

Q: Where are you from?

A: I hail from Oak Park, llinois, and live there now with my wife, dog, and kids.

Q: Do you wear pajamas? If so, what kind?

A: Yes – just a t-shirt, and long pants generally.  my wife gets me pajamas with cute dogs on them as a Christmas present every year.  

Q: What do you love about working at TMTC? 

A: Telling a big musical story in an intimate space, and the support that you get from the company. Also, the quality of the cast, and artistic staff is remarkable, especially for a theatre of this size.