Old Globe Re-Works Musical Working, Opening March 12

News   Old Globe Re-Works Musical Working, Opening March 12 Working, the 1978 Broadway musical that gives voice to the average American worker, opens in a freshened production March 12 at San Diego's Old Globe Theatre after previews from March 7.
Working stars Donna Lynne Champlin, Wayne Duvall and Danielle Lee Greaves
Working stars Donna Lynne Champlin, Wayne Duvall and Danielle Lee Greaves Photo by Craig Schwartz

This reconceived version of the revue has new contributions director Gordon Greenberg, Stephen Schwartz — the show's original co-creator — and Tony Award winning songwriter Lin-Manuel Miranda.

The Old Globe produces the staging through April 12.

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The populist musical has been re-imagined by Schwartz and Greenberg, with new songs added by Miranda, the Tony Award-winning composer and original star of Broadway's current hit musical In the Heights.

Working — based on the book by Studs Terkel, adapted by Stephen Schwartz (Wicked) and Nina Faso — features Adam Monley as Man #1, Nehal Joshi as Man #2, Wayne Duvall as Man #3, Marie-France Arcilla as Woman #1, Danielle Lee Greaves as Woman #2 and Donna Lynne Champlin as Woman #3. According to The Old Globe, "This beloved musical, based on the writings of Pulitzer Prize-winning author and celebrated radio personality Studs Terkel, remains a witty and unusually timely commentary on how work defines one's self-worth and connection to community. This musical exploration of people's feelings about their day-to-day existence features characters from all walks of life, ranging from trucker to housewife, waitress to corporate executive, fireman to schoolteacher — 26 in all. All of their songs, in which they describe their daily routines and discuss their hopes and aspirations, are true stories derived from Terkel's interviews with actual members of the workforce."

The score includes music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, James Taylor, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Micki Grant, Mary Rodgers, Craig Carnelia, Susan Birkenhead, Matt Landers and Graciela Daniele.

The 2009 production is headed by director Greenberg, who tested this new version at Asolo Repertory Theatre in Sarasota, FL, in 2008, with a slightly different cast of six; Arcilla, Greaves and Joshi are holdovers. (The show's original Broadway cast numbered 17 in 1978.)

His San Diego team includes Joshua Rhodes (choreographer), Mark Hartman (musical director/conductor), Alex Lacamoire (orchestrator), Beowulf Boritt (scenic design), Mattie Ullrich (costume design), Jeff Croiter (lighting design), Tony Smolenski IV (sound design), Aaron Rhyne (projection designer) and Dan Rosokoff (stage manager).

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Schwartz has contributed music and/or lyrics to Godspell, Pippin, The Magic Show, The Baker's Wife, Working (which he also adapted and directed), Personals, Rags, Children Of Eden and the current Broadway hit, Wicked. He collaborated with Leonard Bernstein on the English texts for Bernstein's MASS and wrote the title song for the play and movie Butterflies Are Free. For children, he has written a one-act musical, Captain Louie. For films, he collaborated with Alan Menken on the scores for the Disney animated features "Pocahontas" and "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" and wrote the songs for the DreamWorks animated feature "The Prince of Egypt." He provided music and lyrics for the original television musical, "Geppetto," and has released two CDs of new songs entitled "Reluctant Pilgrim" and "Uncharted Territory." Under the auspices of the ASCAP Foundation, he runs musical theatre workshops in New York and Los Angeles, and is also a member of the Council of the Dramatists Guild. Schwartz is the recipient of three Academy Awards, four Grammy Awards and four Drama Desk Awards.

Greenberg directed Pirates and Happy Days, both for Goodspeed Musicals and at Paper Mill Playhouse. Happy Days is on tour. Other credits include the acclaimed recent Off-Broadway revival of Jacques Brel... at the Zipper Theatre, The Baker's Wife (Goodspeed & Paper Mill), Cam Jansen by Larry O'Keefe & Nell Benjamin (Lambs Theatre, Theatreworks USA), Assisted Loving (Daryl Roth), O. Henry's Lovers (Goodspeed), Theory of Three (NY Stage and Film), the U.S. national tour of Peter Pan (Big League); Floyd Collins (Signature Theatre), Breaking Up is Hard To Do (Harbor Entertainment), The Velvet Vise with Janeane Garafalo (NY Performance Works), and more.

For ticket information, call (619) 23-GLOBE or visit www.TheOldGlobe.org.

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The Tony Award-nominated Working originally had its start at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago and — despite its short Broadway run (one month) — has been a cult hit for years, enjoying a wide life in regional theatres.

The new production seeks to reveal the mechanics of the theatre production — exposing the stage manager and crew, for example.

Greenberg said in a 2008 statement, "Stephen and I have been talking about doing a pared down production of Working for the past eight years… Using only six transformative actors, the idea was to expose the bones of the production itself, allowing the audience a glimpse into the actors', stage manager's and crew's processes. With Lin-Manuel creating additional material and Asolo Rep to launch the new production, we've found the ideal circumstances to finally realize this vision."

In 1978 Working, directed by Schwartz, was nominated for Tony Awards in the following categories: Best Book of a Musical (Schwartz), Best Original Score (lyrics by Craig Carnelia, Micki Grant, Susan Birkenhead, Stephen Schwartz, James Taylor, music by Craig Carnelia, Micki Grant, Mary Rodgers, Stephen Schwartz, James Taylor),Best Featured Actor in a Musical (Steven Boockvor and Rex Everhart), Best Scenic Design (David Mitchell) and Best Lighting Design (Ken Billington).

Songs from the musical have been heard in concerts and cabarets and on recordings. An original cast album preserves the score. A TV version of Working was also seen.

Songs from the original version of the musical include "All the Livelong Day (I Hear America Singing)," "Lovin' Al," "Just a Housewife," "The Mason," "Neat to be a Newsboy," "Nobody Tells Me How," "Millwork," "Joe," "It's an Art," "Cleanin' Women," "Something to Point To," "Un Mejor Dia Vendra," "Brother Tucker," "Fathers and Sons" and "If I Could've Been."

Studs Terkel's book is called "Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do."

The cast of <i>Working</i>
The cast of Working Photo by Craig Schwartz