// Valerie Hauss-Smith WORKING, A Musical
, is based on a 1974 book by American author, actor, and radio broadcaster Studs (Louis) Terkel. His passion for history won him a Pulitzer Prize for his work chronicling the lives of ordinary American people from the Great Depression to the early 21st century. For his book Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do
, Terkel traveled around the country and interviewed people from all walks of life. In 1978, the musical WORKING
premiered on Broadway and showcased the stories of many of his real-life characters through monologues, scenes, and songs. WORKING underwent several revisions in the 1990s and early 2000s, and a new version finally opened in 2012, which features songs by Lin Manuel Miranda, Stephen Schwartz, Craig Carnelia, and James Taylor.
We are so proud of our students and faculty! The pandemic took our production of WORKING
into uncharted territory, but our team rose to the challenge of producing and filming this show against all odds. Our concept for this musical was that we would film it in different locations without live singing. However, we had to ensure it would make complete artistic sense. After much thought, we came upon the idea of creating a sort of "peek behind the curtain" documentary film. A film that would invite audiences to witness a musical as it is put together from the early stages of auditions and rehearsal up to performance and everything in between.
Throughout the rehearsal process, acting and technical students worked tirelessly in-person and online to "make it work." Singers spent half-hour sessions in duck masks and face shields with a virtual pianist in Fort Worth, two or three students in person, one musical director in Rose Hall, and the rest of the performers on Zoom. Actors and dancers recorded their choreographies, blocking, and monologues online for feedback. Technical students built a set, learned about vlogging, film lighting, editing, and publicity, scouted additional set locations, and developed the much-needed props. During this flurry of activity, our costume designer took measurements virtually, scheduled socially distanced fittings, and somehow was able to costume everyone! After recording vocals individually in a professional recording studio, we began filming different sequences in early March. Our filming process concluded in mid-April, and then began the lengthy editing process...
We hope you enjoy Greenhill Theaters' production of WORKING, A Musical
; it was an EPIC PROJECT! It was a journey in creativity, flexibility, humility, and resilience for all involved.