Working (musical)

Working is a musical with a book by Stephen Schwartz and Nina Faso, music by Schwartz, Craig Carnelia, Micki Grant, Mary Rodgers, and James Taylor, and lyrics by Schwartz, Carnelia, Grant, Taylor, and Susan Birkenhead.

Based on the book of the same name by Studs Terkel, it chronicles a day in the life of twenty-six average American workers. Characters include an ironworker, a waitress, a stone mason, a trucker, a housewife, a UPS delivery man, a teacher, and a retiree. All of their monologues, in which they describe their daily routines and discuss their hopes and aspirations, are true stories derived from interviews with actual workers. While there is neither a unified plot nor a narrative thread carrying the action forward, each scene makes a smooth transition into the next, with each character's speech related in content to what precedes and follows it.

The show was originally staged at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago. After twelve previews the Broadway production, directed by Schwartz and choreographed by Onna White, opened on May 14, 1978 at the 46th Street Theatre, where it ran for 24 performances. The cast, most of whom played multiple roles, included Patti LuPone, Bob Gunton, Joe Mantegna, Lynne Thigpen, Steven Boockvor, Rex Everhart, Bobo Lewis, Lenora Nemetz, Brad Sullivan, and Matt Landers.

In 1982, Schwartz and Nina Faso adapted the show for a ninety-minute telecast on the PBS series American Playhouse, directed by himself and Kirk Browning and introduced by Terkel. The cast included Barry Bostwick, Barbara Barrie, Didi Conn, Scatman Crothers, Barbara Hershey, Beth Howland, Charles Haid, Eileen Brennan, Rita Moreno, Edie McClurg, Charles Durning, Patti LaBelle, Jennifer Warnes, James Taylor, and Lynne Thigpen. The program was nominated for three technical Emmy Awards and won for Outstanding Lighting Direction.

A revised and updated version was staged by the Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven and L.A. Theatre Works in 1999. It is a popular choice with regional theatres and summer stock companies.

In 2008, Lin-Manuel Miranda was invited by Schwartz to contribute two new songs to a revised version that opened in May at the Asolo Repertory Theater in Sarasota, Florida. Another production of the revised version is scheduled for March 2009 at The Old Globe in San Diego.

Songs (As licensed in the MTI production)

Act I

  • Opening - Stephen Schwartz
  • All the Livelong Day (I Hear America Singing) - Stephen Schwartz, Lyrics after Walt Whitman
  • "Hey Somebody" Reprise #1 - Stephen Schwartz
  • Traffic Jam - James Taylor
  • Lovin' Al - Micki Grant
  • Neat To Be a Newsboy - Stephen Schwartz (Cut from the Broadway revival and all future productions.)
  • Nobody Tells Me How - Mary Rodgers
  • I'm Just Movin' - Stephen Schwartz
  • Un Mejor Dia Vendra - James Taylor
  • Just a Housewife - Craig Carnelia
  • Millwork - James Taylor
  • If I Could've Been - Micki Grant
Act II

  • "Hey Somebody" Reprise #2 - Stephen Schwartz
  • The Mason - Craig Carnelia
  • Brother Trucker - James Taylor
  • It's an Art - Stephen Schwartz
  • Joe - Craig Carnelia
  • Cleanin' Women - Micki Grant
  • Fathers and Sons - Stephen Schwartz
  • Something to Point To - Craig Carnelia

Awards and nominations

  • Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical (nominee)
  • Tony Award for Best Original Score (nominee)
  • Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical (Boockvor and Everhart, nominees)
  • Tony Award for Best Scenic Design (nominee)
  • Tony Award for Best Lighting Design (nominee)
  • Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Musical (nominee)
  • Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical (Landers and Sullivan, nominees)
  • Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical (Lewis, winner; Nemetz, nominee)
  • Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Director of a Musical (winner)

External links

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