"Working," a musical version of Studs Terkel's classical occupational study opened last night at the FC Campus Theatre.
Set to hard-driving, contemporary music by James Taylor >and Billy Joel, among others, the musical depicts a cross-section of occupations ranging from construction worker to housewife.
"This production is uplifting. It glorifies the pedestrian and celebrates the mundane," says Director Tom Blank, an instructor in the Theatre Arts Department.
Updating the adaption by Stephen Schwartz and Nina Faso, are several new characters, including a Disneyland worker, a freelance photographer and a out-of-work psychologist. "You could hardly show workers in 1984 without including the unemployed," said Blank. "In addition, some of the characterizations have been completely restructured to make the roles more contemporary."
As an example, Blank cited Shirley Romano, who researched and rewrote her role of 'teacher.'
This reflects the concerns of a modern multi-lingual classroom, complete with a 'class' of children who round out the cast to a total of 51. The children are present in several other scenes, including one in which several children 'break dance' during a rousing cast rendition of Billy Joel's "Weekend."
A unique-media approach to set designs uses 500 slides, culled from among over 1200, by Set Designer Bob Jensen. The images selected are projected throughout the play to strengthen and deepen the relationship of worker to work.
In dressing the cast, Clothing Designer Gary Krinke, has chosen apparel that reflects the realities of life on-the-job, rather than merely 'costuming' the ensemble.
The rest of the performances scheduled for this weekend are tonight, Friday, March 23, Saturday, March 24 and Sunday, March 25. The next performance will be next Thursday through Sunday, March 29-April 1.