When the musical Working appeared in 1978, it was only four years out of date; the famous Studs Terkel book of interviews with real working Chicagoans first appeared in 1974. Twenty years of stock and regional productions later, the Terkel text had been revised but the musical had not.
But in 1999, Working the show was updated with additional material about new kinds of workers and with two new songs. This new production, which debuted at Connecticut's Long Wharf Theatre, makes references to "You've Got Mail" and e-mail jokes sent through the office, as well as a lament from a teacher of 42 years who notes that kids today leave their guns and drugs at the school door metal detectors. The new songs are Stephen Schwartz' "I'm Just Movin'" and pop songwriter James Taylor's "Traffic Jam."
Chicago's American Theater Company presents this version of the Stephen Schwartz-Nina Faso musical Nov. 20-Dec. 16. ATC's producing artistic director Brian Russell directs with musical direction by Mark Elliott.
Working covers the average day of various professionals from a parking lot attendant and a luggage worker to a mason and, perhaps most famously, “just a” housewife. Taylor wrote three of the show's original tunes - "Brother Trucker," "Millwork" and "Un Mejor Dia Cendra," co-created with Graciela Daniele and Matt Landers. Schwartz (Pippin, Godspell) penned "Fathers and Sons" and "It's an Art," as well as "I Hear America Singing" from the Walt Whitman poem. Mary Rogers (Once Upon a Mattress) and Susan Birkenhead (Triumph of Love) wrote "Nobody Tells Me How" and Craig Carnelia contributed "Just a Housewife," "The Mason" and "Something to Point Out." Micki Grant (Don't Bother Me, I Can't Cope) composed "Cleanin' Women," "Lovin' Al" and "If I Could've Been," a cumulative number for all the workers.
Starring in Working are Tom Geraty, Marty Higginbotham, James Leaming, John Sterchi, Matthew Brumlow, Sonya Evans, Jennifer Haering, Robin Payne, Editha Rosario, Nanci Carol Ruby, Danniele Truberg and Anthony Wills. Performances of Working began Nov. 14. Tickets are $25-$20. The American Theater Company is located at 1909 West Byron at Lincoln. For reservations, call (773) 929-1031. American Theater Company is on the web at http://www.atcweb.org.