Wyoming Arts Council

UW closes 2013-2014 theatre season with production of "Working"

UW cast of working

The University of Wyoming Department of Theatre and Dance 2013-14 production season draws to a close with “Working,” the popular musical adaptation of Studs Terkel’s best-selling book of interviews with American workers.

Directed by UW Professor Leigh Selting, “Working” runs April 22-26 at 7:30 p.m. and April 23 at 2 p.m. on the Buchanan Center for the Performing Arts main stage. Tickets cost $14 for the public, $11 for seniors and $7 for students. For tickets and information, visit the Wyoming Union or Performing Arts box offices, call (307) 766-6666, or go online to www.uwyo.edu/finearts. Note that “Working” contains language and themes that some may find objectionable.

“Working” is the working man’s and woman’s “A Chorus Line.” First produced on Broadway in 1978, “Working” was nominated for five Tony Awards (including Best Book and Best Original Score) and four Drama Desk Awards, and a then-young director named Stephen Schwartz won for Best Director. Schwartz is probably best known for his subsequent work on “Godspell,” “Pippin” and, most recently, the musical “Wicked.”

The musical has been newly adapted for the stage by Schwartz, from the original 1978 production by Schwartz and Nina Faso.

“My first contact with this unique musical theatre piece was 34 years ago, and it’s never left my head,” Selting says. “As a young actor, I was cast as a dancer in a concert version of ‘Working,’ and I became intrigued with its idea of taking real-life stories and interviews and setting them to music.”

This musical follows 26 people from all walks of life — including a mill worker, cubicle worker, corporate executive, waitress, fireman, housewife, trucker, delivery driver and schoolteacher — using their own words, and charts their hopes, dreams, joys and heartaches. With songs by all-star composers, “Working” celebrates everyday people in a genuinely funny and touching way.

“My former experience of incorporating dance with ‘Working,’ which presents songs and stories straight from the mouths of real-life people, has led to our overall concept for the production,” Selting says. “I’m excited for audiences to see how we have incorporated a large number of our dance students in the show in various vignettes, as we reimagine Studs Terkel’s stories about workers, stories that never grow out of date.”

Photo: Students rehearse for the UW Department of Theatre and Dance production of the popular musical, “Working.” (Donald P. Turner)

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