Tuesday, January 15, 2013 at 10:20 a.m.
Image courtesy the Ultimate Pajama Party
The Lab Theater will become a real girl's night out over the next month, as the Ultimate Pajama Party arrives. You see, the guys (with a special dispensation for the gay ones) aren't allowed.
"It's a show by women for women," says creator Tammy Hauser. "Conceptually, it is more than just an event. It's an experience that is about the women who are there. It's their stories, so it is different every night."
Previously, Hauser had produced several one-night-only Pajama Party events as a fundraiser. She thought back to the slumber parties of youth and how freeing those had been. These productions are "a playful adult sandbox," she says.
For the slightly more theatrical run at the Lab, some of the features have been let go, like a spa treatment center or a "psychic den." There are still plenty of favorites, such as the dress-up closet with costumes and wigs, a "big photo bed" and food and drinks. Oh, and everyone still is expected to come in their PJs.
"It's reality theater, like Tony 'n' Tina's Wedding crossed with Sex in the City, with a little bit of Mamma Mia," Hauser adds.
The show comes in three pieces. The interactive bits come at the beginning. This is followed by the actual show, with a seven-member cast, multiple dance numbers, and three original songs. For the finale, the Lab turns into a dance party.
Hauser worked with Sandy Hey (formerly of Hey City Productions, the producers of the long-running downtown production of Tony 'n Tina's Wedding) and several others to craft the various parts of the show.
A key part of the evening is about sharing experiences. This has been a strong piece of the show since the beginning. "I would workshop and I couldn't get the women out of it. No one wanted to leave. That's how women relate to each other. They tell stories. I took that and put it on steroids," Hauser says.
That is fostered by the atmosphere of the show. "Whatever happens here, stay here. We're not here to deal with the real world. Every aspect from when you come in until you leave is just playland," Hauser says. "It creates a sense of safety where you feel like you can share; like you are loved and supported. There is a little bit of danger -- you don't know what is going to happen next."
Opening the audience up to gay men is important for Hauser. "My gay friends have been much closer to me than my girl friends. Will they come? Some are, but others are saying it should be for the girls," she says.
Hauser hopes the concept lives beyond the initial run at the Lab. It is a commercial venture, and she hopes to eventually franchise the idea.
"I hope they experience joy and a feeling of wow," Hauser says about what she hopes patrons take away from the experience. "Go live your passion, and go find joy in your life. Make sure there is joy in your life."
The Ultimate Pajama Party
700 N. First St., Minneapolis
For tickets and information, visit online.