WORKING, a musical based on the book by Studs Terkel, is now in an open-run at the Broadway Playhouse on Chestnut Street. This show is such a well-acted, superbly sung and inventively staged musical, every seat should be filled at almost every performance.
Yet, the problem may be the theater itself -- Jeepers, when I enter the lobby (entrance behind Water Tower Place), I feel as if I am walking into a corn maze at the local fair. The design seems to have little rhyme or reason -- I get seasick and dizzy simply getting to the Ladies Room. Ramps, another turn, another ramp, a few more steps, a turn into a solid beam....I thought I was about to go aboard The Love Boat.
Once I got my legs under me, I saw photos of ordinary folks (audience members?) illuminated along the side walls -- ala the spitters at the Millennium Park fountains. This is hardly appealing to me. I want to bellow at the powers-that-be at Broadway In Chicago: "Bring back those glittery HELLO DOLLY chandeliers from the old Drury Lane and show me some hot-looking beautiful people!"
However, once I am directed by the warm and friendly usher to my seat, this show was really worth the aforementioned sense of nausea. Music, lyrics and book are all updated to reflect our current state of depression in the working world. However, Stephen Schwartz and Nina Faso have adapted the original interviews into a clever, dignified and thoroughly entertaining production.
Now, all they need to do is pass out a little Dramamine to ticket holders.