Working is a musical with a book by Stephen Schwartz and Nina Faso, music by Schwartz, Craig Carnelia, Micki Grant, Mary Rodgers, and James Taylor, and lyrics by Schwartz, Carnelia, Grant, Taylor, and Susan Birkenhead.

Logo for Working
MusicStephen Schwartz
Craig Carnelia
Micki Grant
Mary Rodgers
James Taylor
LyricsStephen Schwartz
Craig Carnelia
Micki Grant
James Taylor
Susan Birkenhead
BookStephen Schwartz
Nina Faso
by Studs Terkel
Productions1977 Chicago
1978 Broadway
1982 American Playhouse
1999 New Haven
2008 Sarasota
2009 San Diego
2011 Chicago
2011 Los Angeles
2017 London

The musical is based on the Studs Terkel book Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do (1974), which has interviews with people from different regions and occupations.

Productions Edit

The musical was first staged at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago from December 1977 through February 1978.[1]

It then was produced on Broadway at the 46th Street Theatre, opening on May 14, 1978 where it ran for 24 performances and 12 previews. It was directed by Schwartz and choreographed by Onna White, with a cast featuring Patti LuPone, Bob Gunton, Joe Mantegna, Lynne Thigpen, David Patrick Kelly, Robin Lamont, Steven Boockvor, Rex Everhart, Bobo Lewis, Lenora Nemetz, Brad Sullivan, Matt Landers, David Smyrl,[2] Terri Treas, Matt McGrath and Arny Freeman, an actor who was interviewed in the book. In 1982, Schwartz and Nina Faso adapted the show for a ninety-minute telecast on the PBS series American Playhouse, directed by Schwartz and Kirk Browning and introduced by Terkel.

Before the revisions, it was done as an amateur production by Kent State University, Trumbull Campus, Summer Stock. It has been done there again this century.

The musical has undergone several revisions. In March 1999, it was presented at Long Wharf Theater, New Haven, Connecticut, with direction by Christopher Ashley.[3]

A further revised version opened at the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place, Chicago, starting in February 2011 in previews through June, with direction and revisions by Gordon Greenberg. The cast features Gene Weygandt, Barbara Robertson, Emjoy Gavin, and E. Faye Butler. The production opened Off-Broadway at the 59E59 Theaters on December 12, 2012, after previews which started on December 1, 2012. Again directed by Gordon Greenberg, it won a special ensemble Drama Desk Awards[4][5] the cast features Joe Cassidy, Donna Lynne Champlin, Jay Armstrong Johnson, Nehal Joshi and Kenita Miller. It had "developmental productions" directed by Gordon Greenberg at Asolo Repertory Theatre, Sarasota, Florida in May 2008 and at the Old Globe Theatre, San Diego, California, in March 2009. Schwartz revised the musical with Greenberg, which includes two new songs written by Lin-Manuel Miranda.

The show's Asian premiere was in Singapore, performed by LASALLE College of the Arts at the Creative Cube in September 2011.[6]

The show's European premier was in London at the Southwark Playhouse, from 2 June to 8 July 2017.[7]

Synopsis Edit

Act 1 Edit

In the morning all the workers are getting ready for their jobs (All the Livelong Day). Mike Dillard, a steelworker, talks about the dangers of his job. Some people get caught in a (Traffic Jam) on the highway. Some of the cars stop at an office building where Al Calinda, a parking lot attendant is working. He parks the cars and states that he has been parking cars his whole life, and probably will for the rest of his life (Lovin Al). On top of the parking lot there is an office building. Amanda McKenny is displeased that people stereotype her with her job. She has a strained relationship with her boss, Rex Winship, who tells us he wants to be a teacher. Rose Hoffman, a teacher who has one year left until retirement, is unhappy with the changes she sees in the school system (Nobody Tells Me How). She remembers a student of hers, Babe Secoli, who is now a checker at the Treasure Island Supermarket. Babe explains that her job requires work from every part of the body (I'm Just Movin). Her bag boy, Roberto Núñez, is unhappy with the music that is playing in the market, which is the Cuban Revolution celebratory song along with the hardships of working on a farm and hopes a better day will come (Un Mejor Día Vendrá). In the neighborhood, Conrad Swibel is on his UPS delivery route, talking about the perks of his job: meeting women, and the bad parts, getting chased by dogs. After he leaves, John Rushton delivers the newspaper and tells of his dreams for the future (Neat to be a Newsboy). His mother, Kate Rushton, a housewife, who complains that people doubt her intelligence because she chooses to stay at home and look after her family (Just a Housewife). Candy Cottingham says that she needs to separate people from their jobs for her job as a political fundraiser. Grace Clements explains that she does not want to see any young people doing her job as a millworker because of the physical stress on the body (Millwork). As evening rolls in, all the workers remember their dreams of old (If I Could've Been).

Act 2 Edit

Anthony Coelho likes his job because in a hundred years people will still see his work (The Mason). On the highway, Frank Decker and Dave are driving their truck (Brother Trucker). Frank explains that he barely sees his family because of his schedule. He makes a call and because of the signal is transferred to the operator, Heather Lamb. She, Sharon Atkins, and Enid DuBois explain that sometimes it's hard not to listen in on phone conversations. Dolores Dante loves her job and is proud to be a waitress (It's an Art). At the park Joe Zutty, a retired man, talks about his life (Joe). He spends his days as a volunteer firefighter. Tom Patrick, who also works as a firefighter, gets emotional talking about the lives he saved. Maggie Holmes talks about wanting a better life for her daughter (Cleanin' Woman). Finally, Ralph Werner recounts his dream life. Mike Dillard comes back and relates how much time he has missed with his family because of work (Fathers and Sons). The ensemble boasts about their accomplishments as workers (Something to Point To).

Musical numbers Edit

Broadway Production
Original Licensed Version
2012 Revised Version

Characters (in alphabetical order) Edit

Between the Broadway production, the original licensed version, and the 2012 revised version, Working has featured over 50 different characters. The show is traditionally performed with extensive doubling. The Broadway production featured 17 actors (ten men and seven women), the original licensed version calls for nine actors (five men and four women), and the 2012 revised version calls for six actors (three men and three women).

Characters featured in more than one version of Working

  • Sharon Atkins, receptionist
  • Charlie Blossom, ex-copyboy
  • Al Calinda, parking lot attendant (Not featured in the 2012 revised version)
  • Grace Clements, millworker
  • Anthony Coelho, stonemason (Anthony Palazzo in the Broadway production)
  • Candy Cottingham, fundraiser (Not featured in the Broadway production)
  • Delores Dante, waitress
  • Frank Decker, interstate trucker
  • Mike Dillard, ironworker (Mike LeFevre, steelworker, in the Broadway production)
  • Rose Hoffman, schoolteacher
  • Maggie Holmes, cleaning woman
  • Heather Lamb, telephone operator (Not featured in the 2012 revised version)
  • Terry Mason, flight attendant (Not featured in the original licensed version)
  • Dave McCormick, interstate trucker (Not featured in the 2012 revised version)
  • Amanda McKenny, project manager (Not featured in the Broadway production)
  • Tom Patrick, fireman
  • Kate Rushton, housewife
  • Babe Secoli, supermarket checker (Not featured in the 2012 revised version)
  • Conrad Swibel, UPS deliveryman (Gas meter reader in the Broadway production)
  • Roberta Victor, prostitute
  • Ralph Werner, salesman
  • Rex Winship, corporate executive (Herb Rosen in the Broadway production)
  • Joe Zutty, retired
  • "The Mason" Soloist

Characters featured in the Broadway production only

  • Benny Blue, bar pianist
  • Marco Camerone, hockey player
  • Tim Devlin, salesman
  • Carla Devlin, his wife
  • John Fortune, advertising copy chief
  • Emilio Hernández, migrant worker
  • Barbara Herrick, agency vice-president
  • Bud Jonas, football coach
  • Brett Meyer, box boy
  • Cathleen Moran, hospital aide
  • Booker Page, seaman
  • Lucille Page, his wife
  • Will Robinson, bus driver
  • JoAnne Robinson, his wife
  • John Rushton, newsboy
  • Fran Swenson, hotel switchboard operator
  • Jill Torrance, model
  • Nora Watson, editor
  • Diane Wilson, secretary

Characters featured in the original licensed version only

  • Enid Dubois, telephone solicitor
  • Roberto Núñez, box boy/migrant worker

Characters featured in the 2012 revised version only

  • Raj Chadha, tech support
  • Allen Epstein, community organizer
  • Eddie Jaffe, publicist
  • Theresa Liu, nanny
  • Freddy Rodríguez, fast food worker
  • Utkarsh Trajillo, eldercare worker

Awards and nominations Edit

Original Broadway production Edit

Year Award Category Nominee Result
1978 Tony Award Best Book of a Musical Stephen Schwartz Nominated
Best Original Score Stephen Schwartz, Craig Carnelia, Micki Grant, James Taylor, Mary Rodgers and Susan Birkenhead Nominated
Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical Steven Boockvor Nominated
Rex Everhart Nominated
Best Scenic Design David Mitchell Nominated
Best Lighting Design Ken Billington Nominated
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Musical Nominated
Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical Matt Landers Nominated
Brad Sullivan Nominated
Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical Bobo Lewis Won
Lenora Nemetz Nominated
Outstanding Director of a Musical Stephen Schwartz Won

References Edit

  1. ^ De Gare, Carol.Defying Gravity:the Creative Career of Stephen Schwartz, from Godspell to Wicked, (2008), "Working chapter", Music Dispatch, ISBN 1-55783-745-7, pp.158-174, accessed October 31, 2010
  2. ^ "David Smyrl Dies at 80; Played Mr. Handford on 'Sesame Street'". New York Times (Associated Press). 2016-03-25. Retrieved 2016-04-17.
  3. ^ Marks, Peter."Review, 'Working The Musical'"The New York Times, March 17, 1999, reprint in The New York Times Theatre Reviews 1999-2000, Taylor & Francis, 2002, ISBN 0-415-93697-7 (
  4. ^ "Matilda & Pippin Top Winners' List at 2013 Drama Desk Awards", May 20, 2013
  5. ^ "The 58th Annual Drama Desk Awards", May 19, 2013
  6. ^ "LASALLE College of the Arts". Archived from the original on 2013-07-01.
  7. ^ "Southwark Playhouse – Theatre + Bar | Working". Retrieved 2017-05-26.

External links Edit