A Musical in 2 Acts. Based on the book of the same name by Studs Terkel. Adapted and directed by Stephen Schwartz. Music and lyrics by Craig Camelia, Micki Grant, Mary Rodgers and Susan Birkenhead, Stephen Schwartz, James Taylor.
- Dances and musical staging by Onna White.
- Settings by David Mitchell.
- Costumes by Marjorie Slaiman.
- Lighting by Ken Billington.
- Musical direction and vocal arrangements by Stephen Reinhardt.
- Orchestrations by Kirk Nurock.
- Dance and incidental music by Michele Brourman.
- Associate director, Nina Faso.
- Sound by Jack Mann.
- Assistant conductor, Kenneth Bichel.
46th Street Theatre, New York - Opened 14 May, 1978; Closed 4 June, 1976 (25 perfs)
The characters of WORKING are everybody you know! The situations are everyday situations. But this musical is anything but ordinary. A different look at the seemingly humdrum lives of working people reveals a myriad variety of hopes, aspirations and dreams. Of course, to some, life is a Monday to Friday drudge, but to others there is great pride in their daily routine. A powerful contemporary score backed by a vital and dramatic book makes this a winner.
The action takes place at the present time in numerous places of employment. The characters in "Working" are non-fictional characters. Their names have been changed, but their words have not. Even in the ease of song lyrics, the writers have tried to remain as faithful as possible to the character's original words. It is our feeling that the value of this piece stems chiefly front the fact that it is true, and we have made every effort to keep from sliding into the realm of "playwriting."
In the course of one twenty-four hour workday, the audience meets and hears the stories of various workers.
The musical begins Monday morning as the ensemble comes out, introduces themselves, and sings “All the Livelong Day.” First, Mike Dillard, a steelworker, talks about his job and thinks about the man who drives the car made with his steel. The Workers, driving their cars, are held up in a “Traffic Jam,” then they turn their cars over to Al Calinda, the parking lot attendant. Al tells his life story and sings about his obsession with cars in the song, “Lovin' Al.”
Meanwhile, in an office filled with cubicles, Amanda McKenny and her fellow workers talk about their work days in a time of computers and corporate mergers. Amanda and her co-workers attempt to do as little work as possible. In contrast, her boss, Rex Winship, loves to work and he takes an overseas call. Rex hopes to retire and become a teacher, so he can pass on his business knowledge to the next generation.
Next, an ageing third grade teacher, Rose Hoffman, greets her students as they come in to class. She laments the changing teaching methods and different generations in the song, “Nobody Tells Me How.” Rose then remembers her favourite student, Pam “Babe” Secoli, who is now a checker at the Treasure Island Supermarket. In “Checkers,” Babe and two other checkers check-out and bag groceries for shoppers. Roberto, a bag boy, bags lettuce for Kate Rushton, a housewife, as he remembers his migrant worker family. He sings “Un Mejor Dia Vendra” with Spanish Workers.
Kate goes home with her groceries where Conrad, the UPS deliveryman, startles her. Conrad talks about the low points of his day (being bitten by dogs) and the high points (meeting pretty housewives). Alone in her kitchen, Kate sings about her mundane tasks in “Just a Housewife.” As the lights fade on Kate, Roberta Victor, a hooker, comes on and announces she never wanted to be a housewife. She talks about turning her first trick and how women are taught to hustle. Candy Cottingham, a political fundraiser, says her work is hard because she has to separate people from their money. Candy sees herself as an entertainer while Roberta does not see her occupation as being different from someone who works on an assembly line.
The lights fade on Roberta and Candy and come up on Grace working in a suitcase factory. In the song “Millwork,” Grace and her fellow Millworkers lament their boring, monotonous jobs and begin to daydream about their lost youths. At the last hour of the workday, all the workers reflect on their regrets and the lives they might have had in the song “If I Could’ve Been.”
As the sun sets, Anthony Palazzo, a stone mason, wants to lay one more stone before he quits for the day. The song “The Mason” describes how a mason's work (building stone houses) lasts beyond his lifetime.
As evening sets in, two truck drivers, Frank Decker and Dave, drive across the country in the song “Brother Trucker.” Frank, on a run from Milwaukee, tries to call his dispatcher but only gets an operator (Heather) instead. Heather, Sharon Atkins (a receptionist), and Enid Dubois (a telephone solicitor) talk about their lives over the phone.
As dinnertime sets in at a restaurant, Delores, a waitress, turns her job of serving food into a one-woman show in the song “It’s an Art.” Then, Joe Zutty, who is retired, comes on and describes his life in the song “Joe.” He keeps busy by travelling and going to fires, like the one where the audience meets Tom, the fireman, running out of a burning building. Tom has always wanted to be a fireman.
However, Maggie, who's cleaning offices at 2 a.m., has always wanted to sing and play piano. In the song “Cleaning Women,” Maggie dreams of a better life for her daughter, the next generation. Maggie leaves and the next generation comes on in the persona of Ralph Werner, a nineteen-year-old salesman who dreams of starting his own business and having his own family. In contrast, Charlie Blossom, a twenty-year-old copy boy, dreams of killing everyone at his job.
Then, Mike Dillard comes back out and laments the mistakes he’s made and the lessons he hopes to pass on in the song "Fathers and Sons." The ensemble comes out, points to a building, and describes the different jobs they each have had there in "Something to Point To."
The musical ends with a collective acknowledgment of the accomplishments of each of them.
Revised Version (2012)
This revamped version of WORKING begins with a raw stage being prepared by actors and technicians for the performance about to begin. It starts on Monday morning as the actors introduce their characters and prepare for their day ("All The Livelong Day"). Mike Dillard, an ironworker, is the first we meet as he shares the pride of his manual labor, and his frustrations in the lack of recognition he receives for his simple yet important work.
Meanwhile in the land of office cubicles, Amanda McKenny, a project manager at a major business, and several other employees whose personalities are confined to their cubicles, comment on what they do to pass the time of their boring jobs. Amanda, however has aspirations bigger than her current job, and shows her determination to work her way up through the ropes.
Next, Freddy Rodriguez, a fast food worker who is thrilled when he gets to deliver food and receive tips ("Delivery") talks of his hopes of saving enough money to one day live out his dreams. Rex Winship, a hedge fund manager and Amanda's boss, tells us of his enjoyment in leadership and the attraction of women to money. He speaks of his aspirations to share his experiences and values one day as a teacher.
Rose Hoffman, a third grade teacher, shares her experiences in dealing with different types of children and the changing times since she began working in 1967 ("Nobody Tells Me How"). Rose tells of one special student, Terry Mason who enters to share a story of a recent experience traveling as a flight attendant.
A horn honks as Frank Decker expounds on his love of cruising through the country as a delivery truck driver ("Brother Trucker"). Going home to visit his wife is a hassle for Frank and even though he may find himself within minutes of his home, he finds it too difficult to go back to his family. He tries to call his wife to tell her he will not be coming back home, but his cell phone problems lead him to a phone call with Raj Chadha, an operator for Verizon tech support. Raj deals with the struggles of wanting to be a voice for someone in need but the limitations his job puts on costumer communication. Sharon Atkins, a receptionist steps in and joins Raj, discussing the negative aspects of jobs that are communication-based.
Kate Rushton, a housewife receives a phone call that forces her to deal with the challenges of simple housework ("Just A Housewife"). Conrad Swibel, a UPS man, startles Kate when he arrives to deliver a basket. Conrad compares the excitement received from catching dogs and women unaware in an effort to spice up his job.
A hustler, Roberta Victor, and a fundraiser, Candy Cottingham, discuss the necessities of working, scrambling to make money and getting lost in work. Grace Clements, a millworker, illustrates the dangers of a typical day at the factory and the hardships of living under a constant clock but offers her secrets to get through it ("Millwork"). Next, Allen Epstein, a community organizer, shares of the necessities and troubles in fighting for a better way of life. The cast enters, assuming various characters from the show, remembering their dreams and aspirations and the challenges that changed their plans along the way ("If I Could've Been").
An incredible lover of rocks, Anthony Coelho, a 60 year old stone mason, remarks on the joy he finds in his craft as shown by his incredible attention to detail that goes unnoticed by all but him ("The Mason"). Eddie Jaffe, a publicist, honestly reflects on his shortcomings as a person and how this is reflected in his work. Then Delores Dante, a waitress, explains her job as a passion of hers that she has perfected over the past 16 years ("It's An Art"). Several other common people enter to lament on getting laid off, the economy, and the battle to stay above it all.
Joe Zutty, a retired fireman, offers advice on how to stay active after retirement ("Joe"). Tom Patrick, a current firefighter, expresses the intensity of having a life-threatening yet life-saving job. Utkarsh Trujillo, a caregiver, comes to take Joe back to his room and explains that while his job may not pay much, it is incredibly rewarding work; meanwhile, Theresa Liu, a nanny, talks about the joy she finds in caring for children of careless parents ("A Very Good Day").
A part of a family line of cleaning ladies, Maggie Holmes finds hope and strength in the belief that her daughter is of a new generation that will break the mold and make something more of herself than is family tradition ("Cleanin' Women"). Meanwhile, Ralph Werner, a 19 year old salesman, is sharing his life plan for living, working, and a family. Another 19 year old currently collecting unemployment, Charlie Blossom, tells of an incredible job he had with a Chicago paper and how he got fired through a plan he had concocted in hopes of being different.
Mike comes back and is reminded of his son by Ralph and Charlie. He speculates on how quickly his child grew up and how quickly he must have grown up in his father's eyes ("Fathers and Sons"). The workers come back to restate the importance of taking pride in their work and acknowledge the impact that their work has had on so many other people's lives ("Something To Point To").
- All the Livelong Day (I Hear America Singing Lyrics by Walt Whitman;
Music and Additional Lyrics by Stephen Schwartz.) - Mike, Company
- Lovin Al (Music and Lyrics by Micki Grant.)- Al, Ensemble
- The Mason
(Music and Lyrics by Craig Camelia) - Brett Meyer
- Neat to Be a Newsboy (Music and Lyrics by Stephen Schwartz) -
John Rushton, Newsboys
- Nobody Tells Me How (Music by Mary Rodgers. Lyrics by Susan Birkenhead.)
- Rose Hoffman
- Treasure Island Trio (Music by Michele Brourman.) - Danced by Jill Torrance, Terry Mason, Diane Wilson
- Un Mejor Dia Vendra (Music by James Taylor. Spanish Lyrics by Graciela
Daniele and Matt Landers) -
Emilio Hernandez, Conrad Swibel, Migrants
- Just a Housewife (Music and Lyrics by Craig Camelia.) -
Kate Rushton, Housewives
- Millwork (Music by Michele Brourman and Stephen Schwartz) -
Barbara Herrick, Brett Meyer, Conrad Swibel -
Danced by Jill Torrance
- Nightskate (Music by Michele Brourman and Stephen Schwartz) -
Danced by Marco Camerone
- Joe (Music and Lyrics by Craig Camelia) -
- If I Could've Been (Music and Lyrics by Micki Grant) - Company
- It's an Art (Music and Lyrics by Stephen Schwartz) - Dolores Dante,
- Brother Trucker (Music and Lyrics by James Taylor) - Dave McCormick,
Frank Decker, Benny Blue, Ralph Werner
- Husbands and Wives (Music by Michele Brourman) -
Danced by Booker Page, Lucille Page; Will Robinson, Jo Anne Robinson; Tim Devlin,
Carla Devlin, couples
- Fathers and Sons (Music and Lyrics by Stephen Schwartz) - Mike LeFevre
- Cleanin' Women (Music and Lyrics by Micki Grant) -
Maggie Holmes, Cleaning Women
- Something to Point To (Music and Lyrics by Craig Camelia) - Company
Not in the original production: I'm Just Movin' - Babe, Other Checkers *
14 Male, 12 Female (can be played by 8 Male, 6 Female)
(in order of appearance):
Mike LeFevre, steelworker: Brad Sullivan.
Al Calinda, parking lot attendant: David Langston Smyrl.
Nora Watson, editor: Patti LuPone.
John Fortune, advertising copy chief: Steven Boockvor.
Diane Wilson, secretary: Lynne Thigpen.
Herb Rosen, corporate executive: Res Everhart.
Anthony Palazzo, stonemason: Amy Freeman.
John Rushton, newsboy: Matthew McGrath.
Rose Hoffman, teacher: Bobo Lewis.
Babe Secoli, supermarket checker: Lenora Nemetz.
Brett Meyer, boxboy: David Patrick Kelly.
Emilio Hernandez, migrant worker: Joe Mantegna.
Conrad Swibel, gas meter reader: Matt Landers.
Kate Rushton, housewife: Susan Bigelow.
Barbara Herrick, agency vice-president: Robin Lamont.
Terry Mason, stewardess: Lenora Nemetz.
Jill Torrance, model: Terri Treas.
Roberta Victor, call girl: Patti LuPone.
Grace Clements, millworker: Bobo Lewis.
Bud Jonas, football coach: Bob Gunton.
Marco Camerone, hockey player: Steven Boockvor.
Joe Zutty, retired shipping clerk: Amy Freeman.
Tom Patrick, fireman: Matt Landers.
Benny Blue, bar pianist: David Patrick Kelly.
Delores Dante, waitress: Lenora Nemetz.
Heather Lamb, telephone operator: Lynne Thigpen.
Fran Swenson, hotel switchboard operator: Bobo Lewis.
Sharon Atkins, receptionist: Robin Lamont.
Frank Decker, interstate trucker: Bob Gunton.
Dave McCormick, interstate trucker: Joe Mantegna.
Booker Page, seaman: Rex Everhart.
Lucille Page, his wife: Bobo Lewis.
Will Robinson, bus driver: David Langston Smyrl.
Jo Anne Robinson, his wife: Lynne Thigpen.
Tim Devlin, salesman: Matt Landers.
Carla Devlin, his wife: Terri Treas.
Ralph Werner, tie salesman: Matt Landers.
Cathleen Moran, hospital aide: Robin Lamont.
Charlie Blossom, copy boy: David Patrick Kelly.
Maggie Holmes, cleaning woman: Lynne Thigpen.
Mike LeFevre, steelworker: Brad Sullivan.