Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Working"

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note: entire contents copyright 2009 by Beverly Creasey

Metro Works It!

Reviewed by Beverly Creasey

You wouldn't think that a musical without a plot would be so compelling…and you wouldn't think that a musical based on interviews about work could work so well ---but it does! The songwriters (James Taylor, Stephen Schwartz and Mary Rogers to name but a few) for WORKING (at the Cambridge YMCA thru June 13th) have taken the stories from Studs Terkel's monumental interview book and made them soar. (The rarely performed stage play crafted from Terkel's interviews can't hold the weight of all those talking heads.) But the songs in Schwartz and Nina Faso's remarkable musical flesh out the characters so naturally, you'd think they were invented for it.

The Metro Stage Company production has some of the best singing actors around in WORKING. Director James Tallach treats each song vignette as if it were a world all by itself and John MacKenzie's slides enlarge the impact of each mini-scene. To highlight just a few of the joys of WORKING, there's David DaCosta's touching "Fathers and Sons"…Dinah Steward's heartbreaking "Millwork"…Ann Carpenter's sad "Nobody Tells Me How"…Kendra Alat's sorrowful "What I Could Have Been"…Caitie Grady's tragic "Un Mejor dia Venddra"…Gary Ryan's earnest "He Builds a House"…and Nella Mupier's noble "Cleaning Woman.."

For fun, there's Robin Welch's oh-so-cool "Parking Lot Attendant," Joshua Smith'ss hilarious ex-copy boy and Mike Foley's dog taunting UPS Man. Music director Adam MacDonald and band make the score pop. From Angela Foley's supermarket checker to Jeff Sewell's newsboy, every performance packs a dramatic punch. Don't miss this one. It works like gangbusters!

"Working" (5 - 13 June)
Cambridge Family YMCA Theatre, 820 Massachusetts Avenue, CAMBRDGE MA

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide