The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

March 20, 2014

Everyday people steal spotlight during Danville musical 'Working'

By Robert Stoneback
The Danville News

— DANVILLE — High school students are adding the finishing touches to “Working,” their school musical which celebrates the lives of everyday working men and women.

“We looked around at some traditional musicals and a lot of the schools in the area were doing them,” said drama club advisor John Brady. “I came across this piece, it’s written for six people and we expanded it to 17. … It’s just kind of timely. It’s about people and their jobs and what they think about them.”

The musical is based on the 1974 book “Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do,” by Studs Terkel. Both the musical and book are based on interviews conducted by writer Studs Terkel with workers and professionals from all walks of life, from masons, to entrepreneurs, to iron workers to waitresses. The play is made up of different short stories from the book, with students frequently portraying multiple characters.

“It really tells a beautiful story,” Brady said. “It’s about hope and taking pride in what you do … You are contributing to keeping the world spinning.”

The play is being directed by middle school English teacher Caleb Sizemore.

Junior Claire Furman plays the role of housewife Kate and cleaning lady Maggie in “Working.”

“I think it’s really interesting. It’s different from what other schools are doing,” she said. “It’s more of a mature theme” and a different tone from more traditional musicals, like “Grease.”

As Kate, Claire talks about how people see her role as a housewife as unimportant, yet it is fulfilling to her. Maggie the cleaning lady relates to the audience how she is driven to work for a better life for her daughter.

Senior David Curry plays the role of a cubicle worker, UPS deliveryman and an entrepreneur.

“I’ve never seen anything like it on stage before,” he said of the play. “It reveals some of the harder parts of working, while also showing that we all work together toward something.”

Brady said their version of the musical had some strong language edited out but it still deals with serious topics. He described it as having a PG rating and that it might not be suitable for some young children.

“It’s not a piece of fluff,” he said.

The play will be performed at 8 p.m. March 21, 8 p.m. March 22, and 2 p.m. March 23 in the Danville Middle School auditorium.

Tickets can be purchased one hour before each showing. Doors open half an hour before each performance. Ticket prices are $5 for students and $8 for adults.

Email comments to rstoneback@thedanvillenews.com.