Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2020-02-19
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

THEATER REVIEW Working
by Lauren Emily Whalen
2019-12-18

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Playwright: Book by Stephen Schwartz and Nina Faso, music and lyrics by Schwartz and others, including James Taylor and Lin-Manuel Miranda

At: Theo Ubique's Howard Street Theatre, 721 Howard St., Evanston. Tickets: $42-57; theo-u.org ( optional $29 dinner, reservations required ). Runs through: Jan. 26

Jobs: Most people have one. These days, most people have several.

Legendary radio journalist Studs Terkel published Working in 1974, celebrating "the extraordinary dreams of ordinary people" through a compilation of interviews with people about their jobs. Theo Ubique's production of Stephen Schwartz's Broadway musical adaptation—now updated with additional text and new songs by Lin-Manuel Miranda and James Taylor, among others—is an interesting watch in the days of late-stage capitalism. Director Christopher Chase Carter's choreography and the ensemble cast are stunning, but Working is a mixed bag of down-to-earth delights and cringeworthy text that shouldn't have survived the '70s.

Over the course of two hours, three men and three women play multiple characters who speak and sing what "working" means to them. A harried project manager deals with long hours and wedgie-picking colleagues. A stonemason expresses pride in his precise eye for detail and the permanence of his labor. After a retiree takes the audience through the ups and downs of everyday existence, his caregiver explains why the difficult job of watching over others is equal parts frustrating and rewarding. From the first paycheck to the unemployment line and everything in between, Working is a musical about still waters running deep within regular folks.

Any show without a concrete story carries the risk of running hot and cold, and Working is no exception. Because it's a collection of monologues and songs, no character sticks around for very long and is immediately replaced with another—sometimes without the actor in question exiting the stage. Director-choreographer Carter works hard to smooth every transition, and the results are small but beautiful balletic moments when a shy third-grader morphs into a confident flight attendant, for example. Standout songs include Miranda's joyful tribute to food delivery ( gleefully executed by Stephen Blu Allen ), a full cast number about long-haul truckers courtesy of Taylor and a rocking yet soulful romp called "Cleanin' Woman," composed by Micki Grant and executed by Cynthia F. Carter in a true tour de force performance.

These positives, however, don't quite overwhelm the negatives: A teacher's lament quickly becomes a problematic whine about how kids don't speak English anymore ( her three students played by actors of color ), a food server repeatedly belts the "g*psy" slur and, even with the updates, certain jobs ( stay-at-home parent and the aforementioned waitress and teacher ) are presented as very gendered.

Working is a tough nut to crack and may not have stood the test of time. Still, there's a certain satisfaction watching the late Terkel's masterpiece in his home city, vocalized by astounding talent and, overall, handled with care.


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

'Judy & Liza' tribute March 5-April 5 2020-02-19 - The tribute show "Judy & Liza—Once In A Lifetime: The London Palladium Concert" will be presented at the Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. ...


Gay News

'...Love Is Queer to Stay' throughout Feb. 2020-02-19 - The Laughing Stock Theatre production The Masquerade; Or, Love Is Queer to Stay presents a queer spin on classical tropes, and will run ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW The Boys in the Band 2020-02-18 - Playwright: Mart Crowley At: Windy City Playhouse, 3014 W. Irving Park Rd. Tickets: WindyCityPlayhouse.com Price: $75-95. Runs through: April 19 In ...


Gay News

OPERA REVIEW The Queen of Spades 2020-02-18 - Score: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky; Libretto: Modest Tchaikovsky; after Alexander Pushkin. At: Lyric Opera of Chicago, 20 N. Wacker Dr. Tickets: 312-827-5600 or ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Roan @ The Gates 2020-02-18 - Playwright: Christina Telesca Gorman At: American Blues Theater at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave. Tickets: $19-$39. Runs through: Feb. 29 ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Emma 2020-02-18 - Playwright: Paul Gordon ( book, music & lyrics ) At: Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Navy Pier. Tickets: 312-595-5600; ChicagoShakes.com; $35-$90. Runs through: March 15 ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Lipstick Lobotomy 2020-02-18 - Playwright: Krista Knight At: Trap Door Theater, 1655 W. Cortland Ave. Tickets: $20-$25; Trapdoor.ticketleap.com. Runs through: March 21 Home, goes the adage, ...


Gay News

ShOWBIZ 'Drag Race' judges, Dwyane Wade, 'Porgy,' Of Montreal, Cirque du Soleil 2020-02-18 - RuPaul Drag Race's season-12 guest judges consist of film, music, television, fashion and political figures such as Nicki Minaj, Whoopi Goldberg, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, ...


Gay News

Black Ensemble Theater opens Season of Change with Legends the Musical 2020-02-18 - CHICAGO, IL — Black Ensemble Theater opens its 2020 Season: Season of Change with Legends the Musical: A Civil Rights Movement, Yesterday, Today ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Roan @ The Gates 2020-02-17 - Playwright: Christina Telesca Gorman At: American Blues Theater at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave. Tickets: $19-$39. Runs through: Feb. 29 ...


 



Copyright © 2020 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.