Ashley Garlick is starring as “Babe” in 42nd Street Moon’s newly-revised upcoming production of the Tony Award-winning “Best Musical” THE PAJAMA GAME.
This musical has been freshly reimagined to bring this classic show into a sharper contemporary context. Annie Potter (Playwright) and Becky Potter (Director) have adeptly updated the piece, reclaiming music and saving what is memorable and timeless while reframing the musical with a more modern conception and viewpoint featuring deeper, three-dimensional and well-rounded female characters and giving increased agency to the strong women who drive the story.
Ms. Garlick shares a few insights with Cultural Currents in this exclusive interview.
Cultural Currents: As “Babe” in 42nd Street Moon’s newly-revised upcoming production, how will your role reflect a sharper contemporary context?
Ashley Garlick: Well, firstly, I’d like to point out that not too much has changed about Babe, which I love. In the original, Babe always jumped off the page as such a unique and tenacious gal despite the 1950’s setting— she is the head of the Grievance Committee and cares deeply about the Union and her job and doesn’t seem to find a love life particularly necessary to be happy.
With our production, I feel like these ideas have only been strengthened. Babe now has even more of a voice in expressing her views and her reservations with dating Sid, the new superintendent. Another thing that I feel is much more clear in our production is the fact that Babe and Sid’s relationship isn’t so much taboo because of it being a workplace romance, but rather that it is difficult because the two hold really different sets of ideals, and that’s something I think a lot of people in relationships can relate to today.
CC: The recent pandemic led to a more relaxed fashion scene in The Bay Area, with many people working from home in their pajamas. Will this reality enhance the impact of the show’s revival?
Garlick: Ya know, I didn’t even really think about this fact, but I think it’s rather fun to look at how important comfy pajamas have been to people as they work from home these days. In our show, the factory workers very much pride themselves in creating pajamas that are built to last, something that would be very important to us now as we continue to wear pajamas/loungewear for a lot longer than just for sleeping.
CC: The pandemic also reshaped the labor/management scenario in many offices. How does your show address this trend?
Garlick: I’m so glad you brought this up. The union aspect of the show is a pretty important and I think that audiences of today will really appreciate how much the factory’s union pushes to get the thing they deserve: a seven and a half cent raise. Which of course doesn’t seem like much, but in fact, adds up quite a bit over time. We’ve even got a song to prove it! And of course today, we continue to see the impact that unionized workers can have on large corporations in order to get things like better pay, fair hours, and health benefits. Huzzah for strength in numbers!