Review Roundup: Encores Off-Center Presents WORKING - See What The Critics Are Saying!
Based on the best-selling Studs Terkel book of the same name, Working: A Musical is a living, breathing testament to the people who make this country run. The Off-Center production will incorporate stories from City Center's employees in celebration of the 75th Anniversary Season, acting as a time capsule for the landmark occasion.
The score includes contributions from an illustrious and eclectic list of songwriters - Craig Carnelia, Micki Grant, Mary Rodgers and Susan Birkenhead, James Taylor, and Lin-Manuel Miranda who composed two new songs added to recent productions.
Working: A Musical is directed by Anne Kauffman with music direction by Alvin Hough, Jr. and choreography by Avihai Haham and runs June 26 through 29 at New York City Center. Following the matinee on Saturday, June 29, cast and creative team will participate in a talkback on stage.
David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter: While the original Broadway production was a fast flop, the musical has had a robust life as a regional and school staple in revised versions. This latest iteration, performed by a cast of eight talented principals, shows why the material remains relevant and relatable.
Melissa Rose Bernardo, New York Stage Review: Jackson has a great time with Grant's jazzy "Lovin' Al" and Javier Muñoz does well with Schwartz's emotional "Fathers and Sons," but it's the women who really clean up. The fantastic Andréa Burns milks Schwartz's homage to servers, "It's an Art" for all it's worth, hamming it up just enough as a woman who's "not just a waitress/ I'm a one-woman show." And we are blessed with Tracie Thoms' dynamite renditions of Taylor's "Millwork" and Grant's "Cleanin' Women"-though at a few points the six-person orchestra threatens to overwhelm her, a pervasive problem throughout the first night's performance (Ferro was almost entirely obscured on Miranda's "Delivery").
David Finkle, New York Stage Review: In the intermissionless 90 minutes that Working entertainingly takes up (the 1978 version was in two acts), director Anne Kauffman does her own work with the kind of effortless effort that some but not all workers (depending on the kind of demands put on them) are able to achieve. With costumer Clint Ramos, set designer Donyale Werle, lighting designer Mark Barton, sound designer Leon Rothenberg, music director Alvin Hough, Jr., and orchestrators Alex Lacamoire and Bruce Coughlin, Kauffman makes no mistakes.
Joe Dziemianowicz, Theater News Online: This late 1970s musical group portrait of ordinary people, drawn from a Studs Terkel book, never rises to greatness. It is sincere and modestly entertaining - no more, no less. But making us privy to a typically silent conversation in a show about workers who can fly under the radar marks a savvy move by director Anne Kauffman, whose production also weaves City Center history and employees' stories into the show's mix of factory drones, teachers, masons, housewives, firemen, caretakers, truckers, receptionists and others.