My old—very old—friend George Abbott died eleven years ago. When you’re 107, even most of the available natural causes have given up waiting for anything to happen. So one afternoon he simply dozed off and never woke up. Across his chair was his familiar butcher’s board and on it were his rewrites for The Pajama Game. He’d just had a great hit with a revival of Damn Yankees, and the producers were anxious to push a revised Pajama Game into rehearsal.

A decade on, it’s finally showed up. What I like about the show is the spirit. Mister Abbott co-wrote the script with Richard Bissell, author of the original novel (7 1/2 Cents), but the opening sounds like pure Abbott, and almost the distillation of his approach to show-making on the Broadway of 1954. Here’s the first thing audiences heard at Pajama Game:

“This is a very serious drama....


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