"The Pajama Game" is a truly great musical. Although it's most popular songs have truly been immortalized, such as "Hernando's Hideaway" and "Hey There", the show itself seems to be sadly forgotten by many (depite winning both Best Score and Best Musical in the Tonys). It remains very popular with amateurs and high schools, though.
This recording of The Pajama Game, a remastered version on the original cast, has VASTLY improved sound and some great extra tracks. Despite the new tracks, though, a lot of the score is completley missing from this recording, and a lot of the songs have been abridged, cutting out dialogue sections and a lot of dance music, like the wonderful "Jealousy Ballet" number, but the loss can be both a blessing and a curse.
The cast is the best recorded, in my opinion.
John Raitt as Sid - I'm not sure if this show was Raitt's star turn or Carousel was, but regardless, he is a fantastic talent and it really shows on this recording. His solos on this recording are superior to any other renditions. "Hey There", "A New Town Is a Blue Town", and "There Once Was a Man"(my personal favorite) are just fantastic. Great all around.
Janis Paige as Babe - Ok...she grows on you. If Paige is not singing in a more characterized voice, than she needs to be shot because she sounds like a wounded animal, BUT for the role her funky voice is very well suited. Her belt voice doesn't use much vibrato or any classical broadway norms, but her much grittier voice brings a more "real" feel to her character. "I'm Not At All In Love" is great and her comedic-like turn in "There Once Was a Man" is also fantastic.
Eddie Foy Jr. as Hines - I just recently finished performing as Hines in a production of "The Pajama Game" so I know the role well. Foy is my favorite recorded Hines, he has such a different voice and personality to his character that simply cannot be imitated. It's a shame so much of his role was cut from the movie. "I'll Never Be Jealous Again" is pleasantly comic, "Think Of The Time I Save" is cute and pleasant, and the opening is also great. An excellent performance.
Carol Haney as Gladys - Gladys is THE show stealing role of "The Pajama Game", and the underrated and underused Carol Haney stole this production way back when. Haney is cooky, lovable, and on stage, a fantastic dancer. Haney stepped into the role originally envisioned for Gwen Verdon and made it the role it is today, funny and wonderful. Haney sings two of the show's classics, "Steam Heat"(the best recorded), and "Hernando's Hideaway" both totally wonderful.
Stanley Prager as Prez - A really great performance. Prager gives a rough, growling voice to Prez and it comes off as a great perfomance. "Her Is" is great, as is "Seven and A Half Cents"(although Prager's voice humorously cracks in mid-verse). A good performance.
Reta Shaw as Mabel - Can't pull off a cute and perverted old lady any other way. Shaw's performance is solid in "I'll Never Be Jealous Again" with Foy. Pleasant to listen to.
Well, all in all, this recording, though very abridged, has the best cast and is just as good as a choice for a recording of the show. Both is better, but for casual and curious listeners, this one beats the London cast. For those who really want the full score, go London. If I had to pick the superior, I would very reluctantly choose this one(reluctantly, due to the abridged score and Ms. Paige. One thing is for sure, every theater lover must own a copy of this wonderful show.