Working, based on the book by Studs Terkel, adapted by Stephen Schwartz (Wicked, Pippin, Godspell) and Nina Faso, will be directed by Gordon Greenberg (Happy Days, the Musical). The cult-hit Broadway musical revue was recently re-imagined by Schwartz and Greenberg, with new songs added by Miranda, the Tony Award-winning composer and star of Broadway's In the Heights, winner of the 2008 Tony as Best Musical.
Working will run in the Old Globe Theatre March 7–April 12, 2009, opening March 12.
This version of Working was recently produced at Asolo Repertory Theatre in Florida.
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."
With music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, James Taylor, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Micki Grant, Mary Rodgers, Craig Carnelia, Susan Birkenhead, Matt Landers and Graciela Daniele, Working "paints a vivid and original portrait of the American landscape." "Working is a celebration of the human spirit and the search for meaning, featuring the music of such renowned composers as Stephen Schwartz, James Taylor — and now Lin-Manuel Miranda, one of the hottest new musical theatre composers," stated Old Globe's executive producer Louis Spisto. "Gordon and Stephen have begun a remarkable new journey for Working which will continue at the Globe and, with good fortune, culminate on Broadway. We've heard a lot from the candidates recently about 'hard-working Americans,' and it seems appropriate and timely to revisit this amazing collage of stories. We are particularly thrilled about having Stephen Schwartz in residence at the Globe to continue working on this exciting project."
At Florida's Asolo in recent weeks, the debut of the revamped show (which closed June 8) had a cast of six rather than the original 17, and featured two new songs by Miranda.
Performances began at Asolo May 14. The Florida cast included Liz McCartney (Broadway's Taboo, Mamma Mia!) and Darrin Baker (Broadway's Tarzan, Wonderful Town), Marie-France Arcilla, Colin Donnell, Danielle Lee Greaves and Nehal Joshi.
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 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."
Tony Award nominee and Academy Award winner Schwartz is the composer-lyricist known for Pippin, The Baker's Wife, Wicked and the animated "Hunchback of Notre Dame" and more.
Miranda penned music and lyrics for Broadway's current In the Heights, in which he stars as one of the Latino residents of the Manhattan neighborhood of Washington Heights. He conceived the musical as well. He won the 2008 Tony Award for Best Score.
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."
For more information or to subscribe to The Old Globe's 2008-09 winter season, contact Globe Ticket Services at (619) 23-GLOBE or www.TheOldGlobe.org.
The season includes The Women (Sept. 13–Oct. 26, 2008), Six Degrees of Separation (Jan. 10–Feb. 15, 2009), Working (March 7–April 12, 2009), and the world premiere of Cornelia (May 16–June 21, 2009) in the Old Globe Theatre; and the world premiere of Back Back Back (Sept. 19–Oct. 26, 2008), Since Africa (Jan. 24–March 8, 2009), Opus (March 21–April 26, 2009) and The Price (May 9–June 14, 2009) in the Globe's interim arena stage at the San Diego Museum of Art's James S. Copley Auditorium.