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Theo Ubique
Thru - Jan 26, 2020

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Theo Ubique

  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune- Recommended

"...I think this piece, though, holds a unique and rather lovely niche in the canon of American musicals. It lives most happily in this kind of Chicago production: honest, emotional, raw, close-up and sincere. “Working,” you might say, is home for the holidays."
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Chris Jones

Chicago Sun Times- Recommended

"...The six members of Carter’s cast each get moments to show their chops playing multiple characters. Kiersten Frumkin, playing a nanny, delivers Miranda’s best contribution, “A Very Good Day,” depicting immigrants taking on the intimate labor of childcare and elder care. The show’s finest song, though, remains Taylor’s exquisite “Millwork,” led here by Frumkin as a weary factory worker. But the big-voiced Black Ensemble Theatre alumna Cynthia F. Carter makes a powerful case for Grant’s funky “Cleanin’ Women,” playing a hotel maid who insists her daughter will break the family tradition of sweeping up after others."
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Kris Vire

Chicago Reader- Highly Recommended

"...Cynthia F. Carter's performance of "Cleanin' Woman" (written by Micki Grant) captures the primary (and perhaps obvious) reason many of these characters work so hard: to make it possible for their kids to have more options in life. And as the concluding song, "Something to Point To" (by Craig Carnelia) movingly makes clear, what most people also want out of a job is to feel that they've created something that will last beyond their time on earth. Theo Ubique's production elevates the occasionally dutiful clock-punching material to create a moving collage of the dignity of doing one's best without fanfare."
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Kerry Reid

Time Out Chicago- Highly Recommended

"...If Working is a hodgepodge, that is true to its mission. The show covers workers in a broad array of professions-stone masons, schoolteachers, stay-at-home moms, nurse aides, steelworkers, stock-market trader-whose feelings about their jobs run the gamut from pride to exhaustion to exhilaration and quite a lot of boredom. The melancholy songs have aged better than the upbeat ones; Taylor's sorrowful "Millworker" could have been penned last week, for example, but his boisterous "Brother Trucker" seems very much an artifact of the 1970s . But while the specifics of their work have changed (complaints about cubicles seem quaint in the age of open office plans), the workers themselves don't seem very different from us at all. They're looking for a good wage, a solid future and a little credit for what they do-something Working happily provides."
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Alex Huntsberger

Around The Town Chicago- Highly Recommended

"...Under the direction of Christopher Chase Carter, who also does the choreography, this slick production moves through the interviews with great ease. If you know this theater, you know that the actors perform about as close to the audience as they can get without joining them at their tables. The set for this one (Nicholas James Schwartz) is set up with three stage areas and while there may be a time or two where you need to move your chair, it is worth the turn, for sure!"
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Alan Bresloff

NewCity Chicago- Somewhat Recommended

"...Everything really does work quite well through the first act. It is a hard trick, though, to pull off a musical without a plot. Toward the end it feels a bit long, with the actual end point appearing as a rather arbitrary destination. Even the intermission felt random. I wonder what the experience would be like if this was presented in just one act with maybe a few jobs axed. As it exists right now, "Working" is an interesting and well done production. But I am not sure I would recommend it to someone after a hard day's work."
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Noel Schecter

WTTW- Highly Recommended

"...Of course, you can love your job, hate your job, just wish you had a job, or wish you could quit your job and travel the world (or at least pay off your student debt). But whatever the situation, work is a crucial element of human existence. And in "Working," the musical based on Terkel's 1974 best-selling book of oral history - now in a wonderfully realized, sweat-and-dreams production at Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre - the many and varied attitudes about work are explored as six ideally mixed-and-matched actors play multiple roles and sing songs penned by Stephen Schwartz (who also adapted the book along with Nina Faso), Mary Rodgers, James Taylor, Craig Carnelia and Micki Grant."
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Hedy Weiss

Chicago Theatre Review- Highly Recommended

"...All six actors, accompanied with typical polish and professionalism by Musical Director Jeremy Ramey on keyboard, are joined by his rockin' onstage band. They fully inject their skill, spirit and enthusiasm into this terrific production. Under the careful, inspired direction of Christopher Chase Carter, this charming, thought-provoking show honors all the men and women who keep America running and make honest, hard work seem almost fun."
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Colin Douglas Somewhat Recommended

"...So, while the play itself is far from perfect, it gets better after intermission. And while the play itself is far from perfect, its cast perfectly plays the many roles they're asked to play. And, isn't an imperfect what workers and their worlds are? As Allen's southside community organizer says late in 'Working', "history is made up of a lot of little people," and 'Working' gives all of those little people a voice and a stage to tell their messy, imperfect, and real stories of 'Working' and of life, now through January 26 at what's become one of my favorite spots, Theo Ubique on Howard in Evanston."
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CJ Burroughs

Chicagoland Musical Theatre- Highly Recommended

"...This well-paced staging directed by Christopher Chase Carter features a cast of six hungry, non-Equity talents working their way through Chicago journalist Studs Terkel's transcriptions. The show includes songs from a bevvy of composers/lyricists including Schwartz, Craig Carnelia, Micki Grant, Mary Rodgers, Susan Birkenhead and James Taylor along with two recent additions to the work from Hamilton god Lin-Manuel Miranda. Ever-talented Music Director Jeremy Ramey and musicians Rafe Bradford (bass), Perry Cowdery (guitar) and Carlos Mendoza (drums) handle the variety of musical styles with entertaining professionalism. It's always a joy to watch Ramey's conducting enthusiasm, and the exposed placement of the band for this show is an added plus."
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Barry Reszel

Third Coast Review- Recommended

"...Working transforms Studs Terkel’s iconic 1974 book of interviews with American workers of all stripes into a musical revue that pays homage to the value of work and the pride we take in it. Throughout the show, we hear an ironworker, an organizer, a trucker, a waitress, a teacher, a hotel cleaner and a mom explain how their work made a difference. The revue brings the theme home at the end with the final number, “Something to Point To.”"
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Nancy Bishop

Chicago On Stage- Highly Recommended

"...Theo Ubique's Working just Throughout the two-hour show, we are introduced to a couple dozen Chicagoans who could be any of us, and we are left with a far greater understanding of our fellow travelers in this vast city. Utterly different in tone from the brash Hedwig and the Angry Inch or the romantic Bridges of Madison County that this company also produced in 2019, Working celebrates the things we do and the people who do them. It's a completely egalitarian musical, treating all of us as stars for a few minutes no matter who we are. It is said that everyone feels like the star of their own life story; this play allows us to celebrate that in ourselves; as we look at the world through all of these different perspectives, we begin to realize that the issues that beset us are universal and that everyone has a story to tell. "
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Karen Topham

TotalTheater- Highly Recommended

"...Instead of spoiling the stage magic, though, bearing witness to the gritty nuts-and-bolts WORK that goes into its creation merely enhances our appreciation and empathy: when a socialite describing herself as "a fundraiser who dresses well" confesses to hustling money for her charitable causes employing techniques as calculating as those of the prostitute (who also defends her choice of occupation), for example, or a firefighter explains that he resigned from the police force-where his duties sometimes mandated a pretense of hostility-to take a job where his sole purpose is saving lives, or a mason points with pride to the section of a skyscraper he helped build, or a restaurant-delivery boy revels in the fresh air and exercise that make his day."
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Mary Shen Barnidge

Picture This Post- Recommended

"...It's no surprise that people's attitudes in WORKING depend largely on whether they do or don't have a sense of purpose. An unskilled laborer remarks "I do what no one wants to do" - but views his current job as just "for now." And there are those who tolerate harsh monotony because "if you can't improve yourself, you improve your posterity." A fireman explains that he used to be a cop but, after seeing "hate in the eyes" too often, he switched to fighting fires because his life-saving efforts evoke constant admiration: "Someone can grow old because of me.""
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Susan Lieberman