- Actors: Studs Terkel, Barry Bostwick, Scatman Crothers, Barbara Browning, Vernee Watson
- Directors: Kirk Browning, Stephen Schwartz
- Writers: Studs Terkel, Stephen Schwartz, Nina Faso
- Producers: Jac Venza, Lindsay Law, Phylis Geller
- Format: Color, DVD-Video, Full Screen, NTSC
- Language: English
- Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Number of discs: 1
- MPAA Rating:
- Studio: Image Entertainment
- Release Date: Jan. 5 2002
- Run Time: 90 minutes
- Average Customer Review: 8 customer reviews
- ASIN: B00005TNFF
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #151,830 in Movies & TV Shows (See Top 100 in Movies & TV Shows)
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Working (Full Screen)
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This musical adaptation of the Studs Terkel book examines the average worker's viewpoint--showing that he or she is anything but average. Based on a series of interviews with real working people--construction workers, waitresses, firemen, secretaries and cleaning women--"Working" is both an exploration of the individuals' occupations and a lament for lost hopes and dreams. This musical adaptation was conceived by Stephen Schwartz (Godspell, Pippin). A must for all musical theatre buffs.
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For those unfamiliar with the book or the musical, Working is based on a series of interviews Terkel performed with people from all walks of life. The book was subtitled "People Talking About What They Do All Day And How They Feel About What They Do." Composer and Lyricist Stephen Schwartz (with help from the likes of James Taylor and Craig Carnelia) adapted the interviews (which were verbatim from these peoples' mouths) into a musical.
Now let me adress a common concern right here. "I don't like musicals." Something like that is simply impossible to say. It's like saying "I don't like soup." You can't. There are too many different kinds of musicals (indeed soups) to say that you hate them all. Do you hate bright and sunny musicals like "Meet Me in St. Louis" or lavish dance numbers like "42nd Street" or quasi-historic grandeur like "Camelot?" In Working the musical performances are limited to singing at the camera, or singing off camera.
And the singing is performed by some wonderful people. "Rocky Horror's" Barry Bostwick as the Steelworker, Scatman Crothers as a Parking Lot Attendant called "Lovin' Al: The Wizard," "West Side Story's" Rita Moreno as a Waitress who feels like an artist, Charles Durning as a retiree, Patti LaBelle as a Cleaning Woman and James Taylor (mentioned above) as a Trucker. Highlights include Bostwick's stirring ballad "Fathers and Sons" Moreno's "It's an Art" and the highly affecting "Me and My Machine" performed by an unseen vocalist during the Millworker scene.
People who do these jobs, might be inspired by these completely true stories. And people who interact with these people might be inspired as well. Inspired to spend a few brain cells thinking about the guy who put his car together, talking to the telephone operator who's been having a hard day, showing respect for the cleaning woman, you even see hookers in a new light.
"Hey somebody, don't you want to hear the story of my life?"
Great performances by an all-star cast. Eileen Brennan ("Clue," "Murder by Death") gives a WONDERFUL performance, but unfortunately does not sing her character's "Millwork" song herself. Patti LaBelle sings the [...] out of her "Cleaning Women" song, but does not seem all that emotionally involved in the proceedings. Barry Bostwick gives a touching and brilliant performance, delivering a heart-wrending rendition of "Fathers and Sons." Rita Moreno stops the show, and other wonderful performances given by all.
The sets are rather like "Sesame Street for adults," but I personally find it to be very affective and theatrical. Semi-realism with some flat, 2-dimensional pieces thrown in there for you to remember that this is--after all--a theatrical piece (despite all of the realism in the documentary-style acting and film-making).
All in all, this is a BEAUTIFUL piece. A show about REAL human beings, telling their lives and stories in a non-linear way. Few musicals about real people are out there (only Sondheim's and Kander & Ebb's pieces, as well as I DO! I DO!, FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, and RAGTIME come to mind), but those that are are very affective and are truely quite moving.
However, my one MAJOR let down: Craig Carneila's beautiful song "The Mason" is not in this film.
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