Logo for Working
by Studs Terkel
|Productions||1977 Chicago |
1982 American Playhouse
1999 New Haven
2009 San Diego
2011 Los Angeles
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.
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.
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, 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.
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  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. The production run was at the Creative Cube in September 2011. The show was directed by Tony Knight, musical direction by Ben Kiley, and choreography by Kristy Griffin. The cast included Gimbey Dela Cruz, Taryn Erickson, Linden Furnell, Safia Hanifah, Mina Kaye, Michelle Kraiwitchaicharoen, Timothy Langan, Oda Maria, Elle-May Patterson and James Simpson.
In 2019 the show was performed by Newcastle College BTEC Musical Theatre in the Peter Sarah Theatre.
- Act 1
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 Nunez, 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 Dia Vendra). 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
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).
- Broadway Production
- Original Licensed Version
- 2012 Revised Version
Characters (in alphabetical order)
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 Hernandez, 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 Nunez, 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 Rodriguez, fast food worker
- Utkarsh Trajillo, eldercare worker
Awards and nominations
Original Broadway production
|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|
|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|
|Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical||Bobo Lewis||Won|
|Outstanding Director of a Musical||Stephen Schwartz||Won|
- 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 https://books.google.com, accessed October 31, 2010
- "David Smyrl Dies at 80; Played Mr. Handford on 'Sesame Street'". New York Times (Associated Press). 2016-03-25. Retrieved 2016-04-17.
- 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 (books.google.com)
- Jones, Kenneth."Director Gordon Greenberg Talks About New Revision of Musical Working, Bowing in Chicago in 2011" playbill.com, December 22, 2010
- Jones, Kenneth.Small-Cast Working, Singing of American Workers, Opens in Chicago; Is NYC Next?" playbill.com, March 2, 2011
- Weiss, Hedy."Superb ‘Working’ explores what we do, who we are" Chicago Sun-Times, March 16, 2011
-  broadway.com, May 20, 2013
- " newyorktheatreguide.com, May 19, 2013
- Gioia, Michael. "Revised 'Working', With New Songs by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Opens Off-Broadway Dec. 12" playbill.com, December 12, 2012
- Machray, Robert.'Working' review blogcritics.org, April 2, 2009
- Listing Old Globe Theatre, accessed October 31, 2010
- "Working". Retrieved Jan 6, 2020.
- "Hollywood Fringe - Home Page". www.hollywoodfringe.org. Retrieved Jan 6, 2020.
- "Southwark Playhouse – Theatre + Bar | Working". southwarkplayhouse.co.uk. Retrieved 2017-05-26.
- The Official Stephen Schwartz fan site: All about Working
- Internet Broadway Database listing
- Internet Movie Database listing
- Working (2012 revised version) at the Music Theatre International website