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Notes and Editorial Reviews
Based on the book
Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do by Studs Terkel, 1978's
Working tells the story of average working people through original songs written by Stephen Schwartz (who also directed the show), James Taylor, Craig Carnelia, Micki Grant, Mary Rodgers, and Susan Birkenhead. Terkel described the production as a celebration of the “ordinary” people whose lives are unsung. Though
Working only ran for a total of 24 performances, it was nominated for six Tony Awards including Best Original Score, Best Book of a Musical and Best Featured Actor in a Musical (Steven Boockvor and Rex Everhart). The formidable cast also included Joe Mantegna and Lynne Thigpen
as well as Bob Gunton and Patti LuPone, who would be reunited a year later as husband and wife in the original Broadway cast of
Working continues to be revised and performed throughout the world and was adapted for an episode of PBS’s “American Playhouse” in 1982.
Original songs by Craig Carnella, Micki Grant, Mary Rodgers, Susan Birkenhead, Stephen Schwartz, James Taylor.
Principal Cast: David Langston Smyrl, David Patrick Kelly, Matthew McGrath, Bobo Lewis, Matt Landers, Joe Mantegna, Susan Bigelow, Robin Lamont, Lynne Thigpen, Arny Freeman, Lenora Nemetz, Bob Gunton.
Producers include: Elliot Scheiner, Stephen Schwartz.
Reissue producer: Bruce Kimmel.
Recorded at A & R Studios, New York, New York. Includes liner notes by Stephen Schwartz and Studs Terkel.
All tracks have been digitally remastered.
Lyricists: Craig Carnelia, James Taylor, Micki Grant, Matt Landers, Graciela Daniele, and Stephen Schwartz.
Personnel: Matt Landers (vocals, guitar); Stephen Schwartz (vocals, keyboards); David Langston Smyrl, David Patrick Kelly , Micki Grant, Arny Freeman, Steven Boockvor, Brad Sullivan, Lenora Nemetz, Matthew McGrath, Susan Bigelow, Kennard Ramsey, Bob Gunton, Rex Everhart, Robin Lamont, Joe Mantegna, Lynne Thigpen, Patti LuPone, Bob Lewis (vocals); Jerry Wiener, Scott Kuney (guitar); John Kunkel, Jesse Cusimano, Evelyn Glover, Terry Woitach (violin); Carolyn Halik, Clarissa Howell (cello); Richard Centalonza, Joe Palmer (woodwinds); John Bova (trumpet); Donald Corrado (French horn); Eddie Bert, Jack D. Elliot (trombone); Rosalinda DeLeon, Kenneth Bichel (keyboards); Don Simmons (drums); Jim Ogden (percussion).
Recording information: A&R Studios, New York, NY.
Despite an accomplished background as both a writer and an actor, Studs Terkel has never been known as a playwright. It has been left to other writers to put Terkel's works on the stage, and several have given it a shot, including Arthur Miller (The American Clock) and Jamie Pachino (Race). But none of them has had more success than Stephen Schwartz, whose musical adaptation of Terkel's Working has been produced around the world for more than 20 years now. The strength of the musical is the diversity of the songwriting, which is meant to reflect the diversity of the working men and women of America. Mary Rodgers and James Taylor are especially effective at capturing the voices of their characters without falling back too readily on musical theater clichés. On the whole the soundtrack captures the substance of both the musical and Terkel's book.
– Evan Cater, AllMusic.com
Works on This Recording
Working by Stephen Schwartz
Lynn Thigpen (Voice),
David Langston Smyrl (Voice),
Matthew Mcgrath (Voice),
Patti LuPone (Voice),
Matt Landers (Voice),
David Patrick Kelly (Voice),
Arny Freeman (Voice),
Steven Boockvor (Voice),
Susan Bigelow (Voice),
Rex Everhart (Voice),
Bob Gunton (Voice),
Robin Lamont (Voice),
Bobo Lewis (Voice),
Joe Mantegna (Voice),
Lenora Nemetz (Voice),
Brad Sullivan (Voice),
Terri Treas (Voice)
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1977; USA
Notes: This musical includes songs by Craig Carnelia, Micki Grant, Mary Rodgers, Susan Birkenhead, Stephen Schwartz, and James Taylor.
Average Customer Review: ( 1 Customer Review )
The 70's are back! (For better or worse!) September 2, 2012
By James M. (South Milwaukee, WI) See All My Reviews
"WORKING is your typical late 70's revue/musical, with little or no plot attached, which makes it that much more difficult to get into. The songs are all pretty generic to the "job" they are supposed to represent and the novelty of that wears off fast. Truth to tell, the only reason I purchased it was that it was out of print for quite awhile and then offered by another company at a ridiculous price. There is only one song I care for, "If I Could Have Been", sung by the late Lynn Thigpen, which is a rousing gospel-type crowd pleaser. Would I buy it again? Probably not, but you know how us show tune collectors are!"