The revised edition of Working, the musical based on legendary reporter Studs Terkel's 1974 book of interviews with real working Chicagoans, ends its return to Chicagoland area March 18. The American Theater Company, which presented the new version of the Stephen Schwartz-Nina Faso musical Nov. 14-Dec. 16, 2000 in Chicago, offered the show for a second time beginning Feb. 22 at the Metropolis Performing Arts Center in Arlington Heights.
Working looks at an average day in the life 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.
In 1999, Working 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."
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.
Metropolis Performing Arts Center is located at 111 W. Campbell Street in Arlington Heights. For reservations, call (847) 577-2121. American Theater Company is on the web at http://www.atcweb.org. — By Christine Ehren