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  Working at Broadway Playhouse


Broadway Playhouse
175 East Chestnut Street Chicago

WORKING is a vital new musical based on the book by Pulitzer Prize-winning author and Chicago's own Studs Terkel. Newly adapted by Stephen Schwartz (WICKED, PIPPIN and GODSPELL), WORKING is the working man’s A CHORUS LINE. It is a musical exploration of people from all walks of life, with twenty-six songs by all-star composers Craig Carnelia, Micki Grant, Tony Award winning Lin-Manuel Miranda, Mary Rodgers, Susan Birkenhead, Stephen Schwartz and Grammy Award winning James Taylor. WORKING celebrates everyday people, fills you with hope and inspiration and is the perfect musical for anyone who has ever worked a day in their lives.

Thru - Jun 5, 2011

Tuesdays: 7:30pm
Wednesdays: 2:00pm & 7:30pm
Thursdays: 7:30pm
Fridays: 8:00pm
Saturdays: 2:00pm & 8:00pm
Sundays: 2:00pm

Price: $67.50 - $77.50

Show Type: Musical

Running Time: 1hr, 40mins

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  Working Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Highly Recommended

"...Greenberg (and the choreographer Josh Rhodes) are careful not to over-conceptualize the material and Beowulf Boritt's set is designed to frame the people — they know how to preserve everyone's dignity, emphasize truth, and stay out of the way of Studs and his workers. Therein lies a fine contribution to the history of a notable American work, made, then and now, in Chicago."
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Chris Jones

Chicago Sun Times - Highly Recommended

"...Adapted and gently updated by Stephen Schwartz (“Wicked!”) and Nina Faso, this edition of “Working” comes with fresh, clever, richly animated direction by Gordon Greenberg; a superb cast; an ingenious use of M.C. Escher-like projections of office cubicles, and two charming new songs by Lin-Manuel Miranda (“In the Heights”) appended to the zesty, often-poignant existing list that includes work by Schwartz, James Taylor, Craig Carnelia, Micki Grant, Mary Rodgers and Susan Birkenhead. A spirited, life-affirming production, it not only pays subtle homage to Studs, the Chicago icon, but also to the “work” of theater, for which he was a lifelong enthusiast."
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Hedy Weiss

Chicago Reader - Highly Recommended

"...The cast, the live musicians, and the visible techies—including dressers who help the performers on and off with their costumes—are all so extraordinarily accomplished here that it just gives you back your faith in American craftsmanship."
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Tony Adler

Examiner - Highly Recommended

"...To be sure, Working is a musical about what we do, (including such demographic-spanning experiences as toiling under the lash of the Boss from Hell) . Just as importantly, Working is also a musical about who we are. The convergence of those two concepts – of doing and being, of outward appearances and inner emotion - is at the heart of a 90-miinute piece that is both specific and universal. If doesn’t matter if you never worked a fast food counter, staffed a tech support line or hauled a 16-wheeler down the Dan Ryan. Stephen Schwartz’s and Nina Faso’s collage-like compilation of Terkel’s Great American Docu-book captures something deeply ingrained in the American psyche."

Catey Sullivan

Windy City Times - Highly Recommended

"...But the moment that the voice of Studs Terkel (yes, he's "in the show," too, via reel-to-reel tape recorder) invites us to listen, the anticipation is palpable. And by 10 minutes in, after the rousing ensemble number "All the Livelong Day," followed by Lin-Manuel Miranda's exuberant Latino-syncopated "Delivery," have welcomed us to join the people who make our world comfortable on their occupational rounds, we are as eager as we are grateful for this opportunity to see how—and why—the other half (whatever that means to you) makes its living."

Mary Shen Barnidge

Talkin Broadway - Highly Recommended

"...Beyond its timeliness, though, Working remains a moving piece of musical theater, with one of the best scores (composed by Schwartz and six other songwriters) of the latter 20th century. The case for it as such is made by a stunning Chicago cast and a production team led by director Gordon Greenberg, all of whom, may I say, are very good at their jobs."
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John Olson

Centerstage - Recommended

"...The original production featured a cast of 17 and tried to cover too much material. It was also considered overly sentimental by many critics. The current production is a fast-paced 100 minutes performed without intermission by six talented Chicago actors all playing multiple roles, often transforming before our eyes onstage. And while much of the new material evokes laughter there are moments guaranteed to bring a tear."

Colin Douglas

Time Out Chicago - Highly Recommended

"... Perhaps most notably, the creative team has reduced the cast to just six powerhouse Chicago actors (the original Broadway cast had 17). They get to show off their chameleonic chops, occasionally transforming onstage with the help of a team of dressers (a sly reminder that the crew and actors before us are on the job, too). The design is top-notch, even if Greenberg’s direction can be a bit stand-and-sing static and some schmaltzy bits survive (see Schwartz’s song “Fathers and Sons”). But they’re far outnumbered by genuinely moving moments, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a more dynamic ensemble. This Working really works."
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Kris Vire

ChicagoCritic - Not Recommended

"...Beyond the total lack of tunes, the whole piece is downright patronizing. It’s what upper-middle-class whites want to see when they’re presented with the “working class:” blue-collar workers with dead-end jobs and no lives, but hopes for their children and the future. The Good Worker doing his job – knowing his place – and taking it, maybe even liking it. It’s a show glorifying the working class that no working class people will attend: it’s too expensive!"
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Will Fink

Chicago Stage Standard - Highly Recommended

"...Thanks to director Gordon Greenberg, this 100-minute updated version has a big heart—and now includes, among other new stories, cubicle clerks and the laptops that threaten to define them. Greenberg, trusting the material to earn our interest, just lets a terrific cast of six (Goodman’s version had twice as many performers) and band of five (Goodman had just three) testify to the work that honors the laborer. It also condemns the jobs that are so much less than the people who “fill” them. Another great new addition--a crew of dressers and scene changers to show the work that goes into “Working.”"

Lawrence Bommer

Around The Town Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...This is truly a brilliant production, with a beautiful set(designed by Beowulf Boritt) that allows  the audience to watch the actors prepare and  get ready- the actors are people and in their own way they tell their story, just as the added press agent tells his. Aaron Rhyne’s projections and the lighting by Jeff Croiter and Jesse Klug as well as the sound by Josh Horvath and Ray Nardelli and costumes by Mattie Ullrich are all special ingredients that make a show complete and I am the first to praise the tech people for their solid work, but this is a show about people and the six member cast truly is what this show is all about. Directed by Gordon Greenberg with choreography by Josh Rhodes, the six actors work the small stage of the intimate Broadway in Chicago Playhouse ( the old Drury Lane Water Tower) to perfection! From the very start as we hear tapes of the people talking about thier jobs and see photos projected on the wall, we know we are in for something special, and that it is!"
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Alan Bresloff

Chicago Theater Beat - Highly Recommended

"...WORKING: a musical employs a talented Chicago cast! No matter what your current job status, this hard-working cast will entertainingly sing to you a familiar tune. It’s realistic, relatable, regularity life put to music. I’m pointing at Working as an enjoyable after-work happy hour."

Katy Walsh 

  Working Photo Gallery

   This show has been Jeff Recommended*

*The designation of "Jeff Recommended" is given to a production when at least ONE ELEMENT of the show was deemed outstanding by the Joseph Jefferson Awards Committee.

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