WORKING

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Broadway Star
joined:1/9/16
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WORKING#1
Posted: 6/26/19 at 10:45pm
Does it deliver?
2
Swing
joined:12/1/18
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WORKING#2
Posted: 6/26/19 at 11:31pm

Nope.

chrishuyen
Featured Actor
joined:11/12/14
Featured Actor
joined:
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WORKING#3
Posted: 6/27/19 at 2:17am

I enjoyed it a lot, though the songs are definitely the highlight.  The performances were great and staged well with some incredible choreography, and I hope there's a possibility of a cast recording.  The book was basically a bunch of disjointed scenes to kind of transition between songs (to varying degrees of success), but the overall show is definitely more of a revue/song cycle feel.  They made it into a tribute to City Center as well, which I thought was a nice touch but could have been handled more deftly.  There were also some sound issues with the singers being too soft or mics not being on for the first few words, but overall I thought it was definitely worth the trip.

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SmoothLover
Broadway Legend
joined:7/3/15
Broadway Legend
joined:
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WORKING#4
Posted: 6/27/19 at 3:37am

chrishuyen said: "I enjoyed it a lot, though the songs are definitely the highlight. The performances were great and staged well with some incredible choreography, and I hope there's a possibility of a cast recording. The book was basically a bunch of disjointed scenes to kind of transition between songs (to varying degrees of success), but the overall show is definitely more of a revue/song cycle feel. They made it into a tribute to City Center as well, which I thought was a nice touch but could have been handled more deftly. There were also some sound issues with the singers being too soft or mics not being on for the first few words, but overall I thought it was definitely worth the trip."

 

I basically had the same reaction. The cast is likeable and the staging is simple but stylish. It had a look to it that was more professional than the Spring Encores series. As the previous poster mentioned it did play more like a musical revue. There were sound issues. Some of the individual numbers could have been amped up as well as lead vocals in the ensemble numbers. It was presented as collective stories where major themes that tied the production together could have been stronger. I heard audience members saying things like well that was cute or it was nice but it lagged in the middle which sounded like to me like underhanded compliments. The director needed to define what the production was saying as a whole. Something like any kind of work we do is vital and we all benefit and are enriched by each others professions. I would have presented the final number off book and staged it differently. The actors could have been in one of their costumes which might have made it more powerful and I would have treated it more as an anthem.Perhaps the ensemble numbers suffered more from the 6 day rehearsal schedule since individual numbers could have been memorized and worked on with vocal coaches prior.  The dancers were very impressive, but I am not sure how necessary they were although I liked the choreography..At times they were distracting from the main story teller. Many of the songs have haunting melodies that are easy to hum after leaving the theatre. The sightlines for this particular production are better in center seats. If you sit far house left or right you will miss some upstage secondary action.

I would be interested in hearing from others who know the show or have either worked on it or seen it in regards to the book itself. Their opinions on its strengths and weaknesses. I never read the book but the musical feels like it is based on and idea rather than a story with a plotline. So subsequently after an hour you have gotten the drift of it all. and you do not expect any 11th hour surprises. It even begins to feel slightly repetitive much like shares in a 12 step meeting. I understand that things have been added to it over the years and this production includes personal stories from City Center workers. This may have increased its length. It was only 90 minutes but it felt like given the material that it could have clocked in at 75.So adding material may have been to its detriment. 

 

Updated On: 6/27/19 at 03:37 AM
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joined:1/9/16
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WORKING#5
Posted: 6/27/19 at 9:52pm
Is the sound better tonight?
LightsOut90
Broadway Legend
joined:5/2/14
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WORKING#6
Posted: 6/27/19 at 10:10pm

how was Helen Hunt?

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DramaTeach
Broadway Star
joined:3/17/13
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WORKING#7
Posted: 6/27/19 at 11:05pm
Went because a friend of mine wanted to see it. Had no prior knowledge and no expectations. I was pleasantly surprised by how wonderful and meaningful I found many of the songs. Helen Hunt has a very pleasant voice and emotion to back it up. All of the other performers were equally great. Go see its last show!
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SmoothLover
Broadway Legend
joined:7/3/15
Broadway Legend
joined:
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WORKING#8
Posted: 6/28/19 at 3:07am

Helen was very skillful with her interpretations of her monologues and her songs. Her singing was adequate but at times she was flat. Her acting in the housewife number was strong but I am not sure I would have chosen her for that particular number. It needed to build more vocally.

Broadwaybri2
Chorus Member
joined:4/20/19
Chorus Member
joined:
4/20/19
WORKING#9
Posted: 6/28/19 at 11:54am

This worth going to?

lightguy06222
Broadway Legend
joined:12/3/06
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joined:
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WORKING#10
Posted: 6/28/19 at 12:22pm

I found myself incredibly disappointed wednesday night.

 

the BEST part is the new material added.... SPOILER ALERT?

the production team interviews staff members at New York City Center, and added their stories into the show!  Security, Ushers, Ticket Takers, Box Office people.... and their CHILDREN who also work at NYCC.

it was a BEAUTIFUL HEARTWARMING addition to the show.  It was the only part of the show that felt heartfelt.

Having seen MANY Encores production, I know the deal... but for the FIRST time at an encores show, it felt under-rehearsed, under-prepared, and thin.  The songs needed stronger voices.  I was overall underwhelmed with the cast.  Tracie Thoms was the ONLY actor who made me feel when she sang.

I didn't like the orchestrations, I didn't like the vocal arrangements.  I didn't like the direction.  I didn't like the choreography.  The whole thing sorta felt like a mess to me!  very disappointing.

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GavestonPS
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joined:6/10/12
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WORKING#11
Posted: 6/28/19 at 5:15pm

Um, kids, do you know who Studs Turkel was and what he did? (Hint: google is your friend.) He compiled oral histories from real people on various themes: working, World War II, etc.

There is no "story" to WORKING, nor is there supposed to be. Yes, I have seen productions, starting with the original Broadway (overwhelmed by the scenic elements including a full-size semi-trailer truck and a fire truck). But what I remember most from that production is Patti LuPone's simple monologue as a prostitute.

I've since seen smaller productions which really were much better.

Updated On: 6/28/19 at 05:15 PM
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joined:1/9/16
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WORKING#12
Posted: 6/28/19 at 10:09pm
Sometimes, all you need is to stand there and sing a solid song.

WORKING was a delight.

rg7759
Featured Actor
joined:5/6/16
Featured Actor
joined:
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WORKING#13
Posted: 6/28/19 at 11:29pm
Call me crazy. But I liked working better than kiss me Kate. This has to be as good as working can get
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macnyc
Broadway Legend
joined:7/26/08
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joined:
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WORKING#14
Posted: 6/28/19 at 11:40pm

A friend and I saw it tonight and really loved it! I thought it was touching and well done. I didn’t notice any sound problems. The focus on City Center was wonderful and updated the show nicely, along with the two new songs by Lin-Manuel Miranda. 

The choreography was distinctive and expressive, and I wish there was more of it! 

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WORKING#15
Posted: 6/29/19 at 12:07am

rg7759 said: "Call me crazy. But I liked working better than kiss me Kate. This has to be as good as working can get"

 

Oh yeah....WAY better than Kate!

 

I was fine with the simple format.  Had no problem with the City Center focus - in fact it would be cool to do that every place it is performed. 

 

Several moments blew me away. Tracie Thoms’ and Christopher Jackson’s “Millwork”, Jackson’s “The Mason”, Andrea Burns’ tour de force of “It’s An Art”, Javier Munoz’s “Fathers And Sons”.  

 

But the big surprise SPOILER. was the simple, detailed, pure perfection of David Garrison’s “Joe”. The audience of decidedly-way-past-millennials ate it up. 

 

Yes, you tear up several times. Sometimes just for the the fact that it works so well. 

 

Go!

 

 

Updated On: 6/29/19 at 12:07 AM
LightsOut90
Broadway Legend
joined:5/2/14
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WORKING#16
Posted: 6/29/19 at 1:26am

as a twenty-eight year old I will say David Garrison's performance of "Joe" is one of the theater highlights of the year for me, which is wild because his Brother Trucker was awful, this production was so wildly uneven it kind of makes my head spin, also why is city center saying it is 100min without an intermission? tonight it was a bit over 80 minutes, the second half of the show was great but boy was the start rough, also Delivery is the most 1st draft cut In The Heights song I have ever heard I thought Lins other song Fathers and Sons was really beautiful though, and hey considering shes never done a musical, Helen Hunt wasnt half bad. 

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SmoothLover
Broadway Legend
joined:7/3/15
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WORKING#17
Posted: 6/29/19 at 1:27am

GavestonPS said: "Um, kids, do you know who Studs Turkel was and what he did? (Hint: google is your friend.) He compiled oral histories from real people on various themes: working, World War II, etc.

There is no "story" to WORKING, nor is there supposed to be. Yes, I have seen productions, starting with the original Broadway (overwhelmed by the scenic elements including a full-size semi-trailer truck and a fire truck). But what I remember most from that production is Patti LuPone's simple monologue as a prostitute.

I've since seen smaller productions which really were much better.
"

 

I think most of us know that the musical was adapted from the Studs Turkel book based on interviews and so forth. My impression wasn't that it lacked a story it was more about the lack of glue that was holding it all together. And I have always thought it had to do with the theme that the unified power of what we all do with our work enriches and makes all of our lives better. Every job we do is in service to one another in some way or another. 

The director for this production chose an intimate route and it wasn't necessarily a bad choice it just took away some of the power of the piece as a whole. When it is done with a full orchestra and the ensemble numbers are representative of all kinds of workers coming together it is more powerful. For instance when they sang If I Could've Been they came out as the actors in the troupe and whenever there was a solo one would walk up to a mike and sing their part. Despite the fact that the movement was unmotivated and not thought through, it  was lacking collective power. The final number failed as well in the same respect.

 

Updated On: 6/29/19 at 01:27 AM
HugoP
Chorus Member
joined:2/5/15
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joined:
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WORKING#18
Posted: 6/29/19 at 1:32am

will echo the sentiment that David Garrison's JOE was something special.   I didn't love the production but I did find things inside it that i DID love:   Garrison's JOE, Andrea Burn's brilliant IT'S AN ART, and the Burns/Munoz duet on the Miranda song A VERY GOOD DAY.     The show is problematic for me-- too disjointed and lacking power except on a few of the choral numbers (and above-mentioned ones), and this staging didn't address my issues.   That said, I like many of these songs and nearly all of these performers so it was time absolutely well spent.

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SmoothLover
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WORKING#19
Posted: 6/29/19 at 1:47am

As referenced in the NY Times review today the original production had very few performances and the notices were not all that great. My sense is that the criticism was how the musical was adapted to the stage and the lack of glue that I spoke of in earlier posts. But the songs themselves have lived on in cabaret acts and solo performances over the years. They are pleasant story telling songs that are complete with some good melodies that are perfect for the above mentioned venues. I think the City Center production is pleasant enough but it was lacking in details that could have made it more powerful.

annang
Leading Actor
joined:10/9/16
Leading Actor
joined:
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WORKING#20
Posted: 6/29/19 at 10:21am

I have 2 third row orchestra seats available for tonight at 8pm. $25 each or best offer (which is below even the discounted price I paid!). Message me if interested!

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Cape Twirl of Doom
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joined:11/2/05
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WORKING#21
Posted: 6/29/19 at 1:02pm
I saw the show last night, were we supposed to be able to hear the stage manager over the mic at the beginning? It kinda fit the theme but also seemed very strange and amateur. It definitely started out weak but picked up a lot in the middle and i left thinking it was an enjoyable night.
"It's Phantom meets Hamlet... Phamlet!"
LightsOut90
Broadway Legend
joined:5/2/14
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WORKING#22
Posted: 6/29/19 at 1:15pm

i have to believe it was part of the concept because at the end the stage manager goes whatever the line was and then we saw Andrea in the orchestra as the house manager responding to her

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GavestonPS
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WORKING#23
Posted: 6/29/19 at 8:00pm

SmoothLover said: "
I think most of us know that the musical was adapted from the Studs Turkel book based on interviews and so forth. My impression wasn't that it lacked a story it was more about the lack of glue that was holding it all together. And I have always thought it had to do with the theme that the unified power of what we all do with our work enriches and makes all of our lives better. Every job we do is in service to one another in some way or another.

The director for this production chose an intimate route and it wasn't necessarily a bad choice it just took away some of the power of the piece as a whole. When it is done with a full orchestra and the ensemble numbers are representative of all kinds of workers coming together it is more powerful. For instance when they sang If I Could've Been they came out as the actors in the troupe and whenever there was a solo one would walk up to a mike and sing their part. Despite the fact that the movement was unmotivated and not thought through, it was lacking collective power. The final number failed as well in the same respect.


"

"Most of us" maybe, but if you look at the posts on page 1, a number of people express surprise and disappointment that the show is "really a revue" without a plot to hold it together.

Of course, what holds it together is THEME. And that theme isn't as rosy as you paint it. Yes, work can be a source of dignity, as the Waitress's lovely "It's an Art" demonstrates.

On the other hand, "...If I work the mill as long as I am able, I'll never meet the man whose name is on the label." Work can be just as easily a source of boredom and humiliation. Ask "Joe", who can't enjoy retirement because he defined himself so completely in terms of his work.

Neither Turkel nor the show pretends to solve any of the problems presented. It's an exploration, not a polemic.

I haven't seen this production and can't comment on it. I see no reason why the orchestra need be reduced. But I have seen productions with small casts (i.e., more doubling) and smaller orchestras, that were just as powerful in the group numbers. I don't know what went wrong on the night you saw it.

I promise you that the WORST production I ever saw was on Broadway, where the attempt to achieve "Broadway size" just led to choices (as I said: a full fire truck and an onstage fire) that overwhelmed the material.

TankNYC1969
Swing
joined:12/27/17
Swing
joined:
12/27/17
WORKING#24
Posted: 6/29/19 at 8:22pm

LightsOut90 said: "as a twenty-eight year old I will say David Garrison's performance of "Joe" is one of the theater highlights of the year for me, which is wild because his Brother Trucker was awful, this production was so wildly uneven it kind of makes my head spin, also why is city center saying it is 100min without an intermission?tonight it was a bit over 80 minutes, the second half of the show was great but boy was the start rough, also Delivery is the most 1st draft cut In The Heights song I have ever heard I thought Lins other song Fathers and Sons was really beautiful though, and hey considering shes never done a musical, Helen Hunt wasnt half bad."

For the record, "Fathers and Sons" was written by Stephen Schwartz in 1978. Two years before Mr. Miranda was born. However, Lin-Manuel Miranda did write "A Very Good Day".

 

TankNYC1969
Swing
joined:12/27/17
Swing
joined:
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WORKING#25
Posted: 6/29/19 at 8:22pm

On that note, if Andrea Burns is singing "A Very Good Day", is she singing the original lyrics (from the London production) that were in Tagalog since the character is a Filipina nanny?

 

Updated On: 6/29/19 at 08:22 PM

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