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The Independent Culture
Name the show about a factory strike which rips off Mozart's C major piano sonata and turns it into "Hey there, you with the stars in your eyes"? Clue: Doris Day (above) was in it. Yup, it's The Pajama Game. And how did it all begin? I direct your attention to one Richard Bissell.

As far as anyone knows, Bissell mooched along minding his own business and avoiding the traffic until the day he finished Seven and Half Cents, his novel about union activity at the Sleep-Tite pyjama factory. Happily, it made him considerably more money than that, particularly when it became The Pajama Game.

Presumably on the advice "write about what you know", he then turned his experience of having his novel made into a musical into another novel, called Say, Darling. (Apparently, people in theatre used to use this expression. Imagine!) And then, guess what? Say, Darling itself was turned into a musical. Actually, it was more a play with songs (not very good ones), and it was vastly inferior to The Pajama Game.

Back at the real thing, rent the video of the film and watch the terrific "Steam Heat" number - choroeography by the great Bob Fosse. Now you know where Michael Jackson stole every one of his dance steps from.

`The Pajama Game' is at Birmingham Rep (0121-236 4455) to 29 May

David Benedict