Wagner College Theatre concludes its golden anniversary season with the musical, “Working,” with performances Thursday, Nov. 29 through Sunday, Dec. 2 in the Main Hall auditorium. Performances are Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m., with matinees Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m.
“Working” explores the American workday, from the Monday morning blues to a working person’s pride in having “something to point to.”
James Barry (WCT’s “Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson”) returns to direct a revised version of the 1978 musical, featuring two new songs by “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda. “Working” reunites Barry with choreographer Ashley DeLane-Berger ’12 (WCT’s “Merrily We Roll Along”) and music director Carl Haan (WCT’s “Avenue Q” and “Legally Blonde”).
“Working” features Flor Alexsandra, Emma Alteri, Emily Berit Barkovic, Zack Blanchette, Aaron Blandino, Gino Cardoni, Ross Coughlin, Kelly Hedden, Gianina Mugavero, Sammy Quinn, Dana Rudnansky, Gabriel Trimbur and Miles Wilkey.
Based on the 1974 book by Studs Terkel, “Working” was a collective work dealing with the everyday life and achievements of lower-class individuals. It brought together a cast of young unknowns — including Rex Everhart, Bob Gunton, Patti LuPone, Joe Mantegna, Brad Sullivan and Lynn Thigpen — singing the songs of the day’s most promising composers and lyricists: Craig Carnelia, Micki Grant, Mary Rodgers, Susan Birkenhead, James Taylor and Stephen Schwartz (“Wicked,” “Pippin,” “Godspell”), who conceived and directed it.
The updated version (2012) that Wagner College Theatre is presenting introduces songs and content relevant to the technology-filled world of today, 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.
“I'm honored to return to Wagner to direct ‘Working,’ especially so soon after the enriching experience I enjoyed directing ‘Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson’ earlier this year,” said director James Barry. “It’s proving to be another moving and reflective process. This time, rather than focusing on famous (or infamous) American historical political figures, we are delving into another inherently American story that explores the ‘the extraordinary dreams of ordinary people,’ as Studs Terkel himself put it. The music is diverse and extremely engaging, and the cast, creative and crew are top-notch.”
The design team includes Phill Hickox (scenic design), D. Polly Kendrick (costume design), Vicki Neal (lighting design), Richard Kroth (sound design) and Brian T. Sharron (technical direction). Sarah Aguila is assistant costume designer and properties master. Others include Tatiana Ericksen (assistant choreographer), Meghan Gunther (assistant director), Olivia Weiss (associate lighting designer), Emily Taylor (assistant lighting designer), Madilyn Joseph (assistant scenic designer), Mary Omilian and Tina Truong (assistant stage managers) and Vanessa Rebeil (production stage manager).
“Working” has a running time of 90 minutes and is presented without an intermission.
The Wagner College Theatre box office, located on the ground floor of Main Hall, can be contacted at 718-390-3259 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Box office hours are Monday through Friday, 12 to 4 p.m. Single tickets are $18 to $32, with price ranges for children, senior and adult tickets. Wagner College students attend free with current ID.