Stephen Schwartz's WORKING Gets Updated for the 21st Century

Stephen Schwartz's WORKING Gets Updated for the 21st Century

By Scott Frost on October 05, 2012

Updated Version Features Two News Songs by Tony-winner Lin-Manuel (In the Heights) Miranda

WORKING, the 1978 musical by Stephen Schwartz  is based on the Studs Terkel book Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do (1974), which has interviews with people from different regions and occupations.  The musical has always been a great musical for high schoolers and even college age students to see and perform because the musical makes an important statement about the power of education on their future life.   WORKING gives us a frank and genuine look into the worst aspects of many professions and shows us what life could be like without hard work and dedication towards a successful career.  Another important theme that is prevalent in the script is the idea of time and how quickly it passes.  That being said, the professions and job market have changed drastically since that first production in 1978.  Technology alone has completely evolved and is now the central conceit of our working and personal lives. With the shift in our lifestyle over the last 30 years comes a new version of Stephen Schwartz’s musical WORKING.  The new version premiered at Broadway in Chicago in 2010 and some of the new elements were also present in Bradford High School's performance at the International Thespian Festival (see video below).
Broadway in Chicago Director Gordon Greenberg Discusses the New Version:

 What's New?
This all-new version of the musical introduces new songs and updated content relevant to the world we live in today.  This fast-paced, technology-filled world is quite different from that of the 1970s and this new version does a great job of updating the script to portray those changes.  There are new characters addressing new jobs from our 21st Century.  The new characters address topics like outsourcing, technology, fast-food, caregiving and fundraising while keeping other topics like housewives, waiting tables, factory line jobs and others which are still relevant to today’s world.  This new version does retain songs by the original six-pack of songwriters: Craig Carnelia, Micki Grant, Mary Rodgers, Susan Birkenhead, Stephen Schwartz and James Taylor. But it also has two new and terrific songs by Tony-winner Lin-Manuel (In the Heights) Miranda.

In addition, the new piece has been re-configured for performances by smaller casts - there are three women and three men who can now play all 26 characters.  Of course, each individual production may use more cast members and / or double them in different roles.

With these changes the musical can still be just as impressionable on young students and performers as the original was on students of the 1970s and 80s.   Read more about how WORKING can influence your students and performers future in Peter Filichia’s article.   For more information about the updates and the show visit the WORKING show page.

The rights to this updated 21st century WORKING are now available.  Don’t wait!   Contact a licensing agent or visit our website today.