Working on Working

Terry Daniels and Blake Wiggs
Producer and Set Builder Terry Daniels consults with Designer Blake Wiggs on Working

Work is beginning on Working.  Working, the Musical,  that is.  Over 40 years ago, in 1974, acclaimed author, Studs Terkel interviewed over 100 working people in America and wrote his book, Working.  His subtitle explains it, “What People Do all Day and How They Feel About What They Do”. He talked to people from waitresses to business executives, parking lot attendants, garbage men, to baseball players.  In his conversations he found the voice of America.  Shortly after the publication of the book, it was adapted for stage as Working, the Musical.  That is the Working that is now going on at Rivertowne Players.

Rehearsal is just beginning for the July 22 opening.  As preparation continues, you’ll find the expected actors, singers and dancers.  But you will also find part of Terkel’s cross section of American workers.  The carpenters and builders are reflected in the set construction by Terry Daniels and design by Blake Wiggs.  Technicians, electricians and specialists are represented by Scott Johnson, Frank Eason and Ethan Goeke.  Management comes in with Director John Van Dyke and Assistant Director Jane Maulucci, and Co-Producers Terry Daniels and Lori Favre.  In the arts department are Musical Director Brandon Banks, Choreographer Roxanne Klepper Wheeler and Dance Captain Susan Bergman.  Susan will also stand for seamstresses and garment workers, as she is also Wardrobe Mistress.  Not to mention all the folks that keep the Masonic Theatre building going, keeping it clean and the lights on.

Director, John Van Dyke explains, “I chose Working as a project because I think it is an important and thought-provoking show that speaks to the times we are living in. When I was growing up my parents and my grandparents often spoke of the difficult and often thankless and low status jobs they had to do to raise a family and get by in the world. It was their sacrifice; a badge of honor that they wore with pride. Today, we live in a fast paced world of technology, higher expectations and immediate gratification. No one wants to be stuck in a low wage, mundane job.  In my opinion it is these ordinary Americans working these jobs that make the country work. They deserve our recognition, our gratitude and our respect.”

The forward to Working points out “Mr. Terkel found, work was a search, sometimes successful, sometimes not, ‘for daily meaning as well as daily bread’….” The Rivertowne Players will work to prepare Working, The Musical from both the original 1974 and the updated 2012 versions.  Many people will put their hands to work on this project in the coming months.  Please put it on your calendar to remember all those working folks who make America what it is today.

Working, The Musical opens July 22, 2016. For more information visit

Submitted by: Kathy Morrison