Thursday, November 15, 2012

Fall Theatre Wrap-up: Working: A Musical

This past weekend in the Margaret Jensen Theatre, the Theatre Arts Department closed the curtain on its final performance of Working: A Musical. The show opened to a sold-out audience on Friday, November 2, and went on to welcome more than 600 attendees throughout its two-weekend run.

Working: A Musical is based on real interviews with American workers, conducted by writer Studs Terkel in the 1970s. Through a series of individual stories and ensemble numbers, the audience is offered a glimpse into the frustration, joy, pride and aspirations of average American workers.

Directed by Gordon professor Jeff Miller, the cast and crew were challenged with reimagining this classic American musical, each playing multiple characters and assisting the tech crew.

“The cast and crew deserve an enormous amount of praise for a very successful run…One of my favorite things about watching an ensemble cast is seeing each cast member get to embody multiple, different roles,” said production manager and technical director Matt Schwabauer.

One of these performers was Cristin Gordon ’14, a theatre arts major. “Being a part of a show like Working was amazing because of how close the entire cast and crew became. It's awesome to get to perform in such a fun, nurturing environment. Also, I felt honored to perform these roles and tell the stories of these people.”

Miller echoed these sentiments in his reflection about his students’ performance: “For college students to embrace and give integrity to these characters who are very different from themselves (in more than age) is a major accomplishment. Time and again we heard that audience members were moved, challenged and deeply affected by hearing these stories.”

Josh Kaplan ’16, a communication arts major, was one of those who connected with the stories presented by the cast. “Working was very thought provoking. The text of the piece and the performances by the actors truly made me think what is the value of work in today’s society.”

Another first-year student, Damaris Gibaldi, was excited both to serve as assistant stage manager and take part in a production that tackled these timely themes. “Not only did I learn about the logistics of backstage work, but I got to be a part of a show that clearly demonstrated the worth of the working class.”

Miller had been eager to present a show that communicated the values and complexity of work and vocation, and he concluded that he was humbled by his students’ “commitment to excellent work and their full commitment to their Creator, who gives them the opportunity to use their gifts in service like this.”

If you missed Working: A Musical, you still have plenty of time to plan your next visit to the Margaret Jensen Theatre. The Theatre Arts Department will present its next production, Waiting for Godot, in mid-April. Tickets can be purchased online beginning in a few months at

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