Studs Terkel's Working (Broadway Theatre Archive)
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For those unfamiliar with the book or the musical, Working is based on a series of interviews Terkel performed with people from all walks of life. The book was subtitled "People Talking About What They Do All Day And How They Feel About What They Do." Composer and Lyricist Stephen Schwartz (with help from the likes of James Taylor and Craig Carnelia) adapted the interviews (which were verbatim from these peoples' mouths) into a musical.
Now let me adress a common concern right here. "I don't like musicals." Something like that is simply impossible to say. It's like saying "I don't like soup." You can't. There are too many different kinds of musicals (indeed soups) to say that you hate them all. Do you hate bright and sunny musicals like "Meet Me in St. Louis" or lavish dance numbers like "42nd Street" or quasi-historic grandeur like "Camelot?" In Working the musical performances are limited to singing at the camera, or singing off camera.
And the singing is performed by some wonderful people.Read more ›
Stephen Schwartz adapted his original Broadway script for this video production and added Studs Turkel as a narrator. The premise of the show is simple -- it's about real people telling Mr. Turkel and us what they do for a living and what they like or dislike about their work. Their stories are told here both in words and songs. And since the songs were created by six very talented people the music and lyrics cover a wide variety of styles while developing and explaining each the character singing them. That's a lesson most of today's new Broadway composers could learn.
While the original Broadway production used a very creative unit set with the characters and their career props moving on and off stage; the video opts for more realistic job sites and locations for each character. This is an acceptible alternative, but not nearly as creative or exciting.
But then this is a show about people, and that is where it stands out! The entire cast is outstanding and it would be unfair to single out just one performance.Read more ›
Great performances by an all-star cast. Eileen Brennan ("Clue," "Murder by Death") gives a WONDERFUL performance, but unfortunately does not sing her character's "Millwork" song herself. Patti LaBelle sings the [...] out of her "Cleaning Women" song, but does not seem all that emotionally involved in the proceedings. Barry Bostwick gives a touching and brilliant performance, delivering a heart-wrending rendition of "Fathers and Sons." Rita Moreno stops the show, and other wonderful performances given by all.
The sets are rather like "Sesame Street for adults," but I personally find it to be very affective and theatrical. Semi-realism with some flat, 2-dimensional pieces thrown in there for you to remember that this is--after all--a theatrical piece (despite all of the realism in the documentary-style acting and film-making).
All in all, this is a BEAUTIFUL piece. A show about REAL human beings, telling their lives and stories in a non-linear way. Few musicals about real people are out there (only Sondheim's and Kander & Ebb's pieces, as well as I DO! I DO!, FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, and RAGTIME come to mind), but those that are are very affective and are truely quite moving.
However, my one MAJOR let down: Craig Carneila's beautiful song "The Mason" is not in this film.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I teach a class where we read Studs Terkel's WORKING, and this video of the Broadway play based on the book is quite well-done. Read morePublished 20 months ago by D. Scott
I saw this show when it originally aired but remembered it being better than it is. It's not bad, but if you're looking for a great production of "Working" seek out a... Read morePublished on May 25, 2014 by A. Gabriel
Again, I have this show to peruse and use the music for my shows. It's a great show and the purchase was right on.Published on March 11, 2014 by Sita Milchev
I can never understand why so many film versions of musicals are cast with people who can't sing. With the exception of Rita Moreno and Patti LaBelle, this movie version is... Read morePublished on January 9, 2014 by K. Fugate
Studs Terkel's WORKING premiered on the PBS series "American Playhouse" on 4/13/82 and is hosted by the author. Read morePublished on August 14, 2013 by Annie Van Auken
This is a terrible, dated 70's version of the musical. I was so disappointed when I watched it. h Only half the music is in there and the same goes for the monologues. Read morePublished on November 17, 2009 by K. Monismith
Though it feels like a stage play, WORKING (1982) was an original production on "American Playhouse". Read morePublished on February 6, 2009 by Michael B. Druxman
never say you "have it bad" until you have walked in someone elses shoes..everyone has troubles..
this play tells the story from the other side.. Read more
I was excited to watch this video; I absolutely LOVED the soundtrack CD with the original cast.
YUCK! I HATED the video. Read more
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