WORKING's updated version gets a New York City premiere

WORKING's updated version gets a New York City premiere

By Scott Frost on December 15, 2012
WORKING is a down-to-earth yet elevating musical that features songs that are based on real interviews.  In the musical, twenty-six workers, including a parking lot attendant, corporate executive, schoolteacher, gas man, housewife, fireman, waitress, millworker, sailor, etc., sing and talk about their jobs, defining not only their daily routine, but their hopes and aspirations as well.  Based on the best-selling book of interviews with American workers by Studs Terkel, WORKING explores the American workday from the Monday morning blues to a working person's pride in having "something to point to." The 1978 Broadway musical, WORKING, has been updated with new material and a fresh adaptation for the current age.  While the original Broadway production, which opened on May 14, 1978, had 16 characters playing 26 different characters, the revised 2012 edition is adapted for as little as six characters.
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This updated version introduces songs and content relevant to the technology-filled world of today.  Because life today is quite different from that of the 1970s, it includes new characters, monologues, and songs addressing aspects of 21st Century work life, such as outsourcing, technology, fast-food, caregiving and fundraising. This version preserves earlier material that is still relevant to today's world.

Prospect Theater Company's WORKING opened Off-Broadway at 59E59 Theaters last night following previews that began December 1.  The limited run continues through December 30.  Due to high ticket demand, additional performances have been added at 2:15 PM on December 15, 22 and 29.  Gordon Greenberg helms WORKING, which was seen in developmental productions at Asolo Rep in Florida in May 2008, The Old Globe in San Diego in March 2009 and, most recently, the Broadway Playhouse in Chicago in February 2011. Greenberg has been attached to the project since its beginnings in 2008.

The revival of WORKING was adapted by WICKED, GODSPELL and PIPPIN writer Stephen Schwartz (co-creator of the original production) and Nina Faso with additional contributions by Greenberg.  In the Heights Tony Award winner Lin-Manuel Miranda has written additional songs for the musical, which features a score by Craig Carnelia, Micki Grant, Mary Rodgers and Susan Birkenhead, Schwartz and James Taylor.

The cast includes Marie-France Arcilla (Off-Broadway's Shout: The Mod Musical), Joe Cassidy (CATCH ME IF YOU CAN, NEXT TO NORMAL, DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS), Donna Lynne Champlin (Billy Elliot, SWEENEY TODD, James Joyce's The Dead, WORKING at the Old Globe), Jay Armstrong Johnson (Broadway's upcoming Hands on a Hard Body), Nehal Joshi (LES MISERABLES, The Threepenny Opera, WORKING at the Old Globe) and Kenita Miller (The Color Purple).

The New York premiere features new music arrangements and new orchestrations by Tony Award winner Alex Lacamoire (In the Heights) and choreography by Josh Rhodes (THE DROWSY CHAPERONE assistant choreographer). Daniel Feyer is the music director.

The Chicago and Old Globe creative team included lighting designer Jeff Croiter, scenic designer Beowolf Borritt, costume designer Mattie Ullrich and projection designer Aaron Rhyne, who all return for the Prospect production. Jeremy Lee provides sound design.

See a preview of the New York City premier below and get your tickets now before it is too late to see this new production.

License the new version of WORKING from MTI here.