After finishing the Off-Broadway run of Mystery School, Apr. 19, actress Tyne Daly was scheduled to appear in a Chicago radio broadcast of the 1978 musical, Working, Apr. 23.
Well, the show will still go on tonight with co-star Charles Durning, but Daly cancelled last-minute, due (according to a North Shore Center spokesperson at Lindstrom Beatty Public Relations) to a family obligation. Chicago actress Felicia Fields will take Daly's place in the show.
Working is based on the book by Studs Terkel, adapted by Stephen Schwartz and Nina Faso. The score includes songs by Craig Carnelia, Micki Grant, Susan Birkenhead, Stephen Schwartz, and James Taylor. Through skit and song, the play explores the ups and downs within the working worlds of America's employees.
Northlight Theatre's assistant artistic director Cecile D. Keenan directs the musical, which kicks off the seventh season of Chicago Theatres on the Air.
In other CTOTA news, a June 18 mounting by Robert Falls of O'Neill's A Touch of the Poet with Brian Dennehy has been cancelled. Daly, who starred on Broadway in a revival of Gypsy but is best known for her work on TV's "Cagney and Lacey," was to star opposite Durning, most recently on Broadway in The Gin Game. "The Chicago Theatres on the Air" reading will be aired on WFMT, 98.7, Oct. 4. For tickets to the April 23 recording at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie, call (847) 673-6300.
Working received an acclaimed production at VA's Signature Theatre in early winter. "Studs Terkel just turned 85," Schwartz told Playbill On Line (July 28, 1997), "so I called and told him about the project and asked if it was okay if some updating was done, since some lyrics have dated a bit since 1978. He gave us permission to use other material from [the book] "Working," as well as his more recent books. All the songwriters have been contacted to see if they want to update lyrics. I know there are a couple of things I'll rewrite (with my co-adapter, Nina Faso) in terms of lyrics, though there won't be new songs, per se."
Schwartz told Playbill On-Line (Dec. 12) there had been Off-Broadway interest in reviving Working even before the Signature mounting, though any future revivals would incorporate the changes made for the recent production. Assuming there were to be a NY Working, Schwartz said he didn't know whether the Signature mounting would be restaged Off-Broadway or whether an unrelated production would spring up.
Upcoming shows in the CTOTA series include the original Organic Theatre Company cast doing Bleacher Bums, with Joe Mantegna and Dennis Franz (May 7). Organic founder Stuart Gordon directs. WFMT Airdate: Oct. 11.
June 18 brings Edward Asner, Arye Gross and Steve Pickering to Douglas Post's comedic 42 Stories, about various urban neurotics struggling with sanity and survival.
Jeffrey Sweet's Flyovers (at the Victory Gardens Theatre) will feature William Peterson and Amy Morton and arrives Sept. 17. WFMT Airdate: Nov. 1.
Sept. 24 at Steppenwolf brings Paula Vogel's How I Learned To Drive, with Glenn Headley, Randall Arney, Joy Gregory, Rondi Reed and Alan Wilder. WFMT Airdate: Nov. 8
School For Wives arrives Oct. 15, in a Court Theatre staging of the Richard Wilbur translation by Laszlo Marton. WFMT Airdate: Nov. 15.
Oct. 29: Scott McPherson's drama, Marvin's Room, by the Goodman Theatre Company.
-- By David Lefkowitz