Theater Review: ‘Working’ at Lyric Stage Company

Working production 22

“Working,” the musical adaptation of Studs Terkel’s groundbreaking tome of the same name that profiles working Americans and the way they feel about their jobs, doesn’t really, well, work as a musical. Despite the best efforts of the Lyric Stage Company, their latest production never takes off, largely because of the show’s unique shortcomings.

The plot consists of a series of stories based on the actual thoughts and feelings of 25 real working people, as they play out over the course of 24 hours. As a book, it’s a fascinating read. As a musical, however, there’s not enough sizzle to compensate for the weak plotline and subsequent lack of flow.

Even the score feels disjointed, though that may be due to a few too many lyricists, including (but not limited to) Stephen Schwartz, James Taylor and Lin-Manuel Miranda, each contributing a different point of view. In this mishmash of styles and stories, some shine, some flop and the rest feel like a muddled mass of filler in between.

The transitions are awkward and sometimes sloppy (usually a result of costume changes), and Anne Sherer’s industrial set creates more havoc than backdrop. Even the usually on-point director/choreographer Ilyse Robbins misses striking marks with questionable directorial choices, like an awkward shoulder-to-shoulder clockwise rotation of the ensemble near the show’s finish.

Despite these problems, there are moments when Robbins and company offer touching insights into the hearts and minds of the workers they portray. Cheeyang Ng’s lovely vocals are a fine complement to his emotional turn as a healthcare worker. Christopher Chew nicely captures the humble pride of an iron worker admiring his masterpiece and Merle Perkins will resonate with many a mother when she expresses the hope that her daughter will one day break tradition and break free from the ranks of cleaning ladies in their family.

Unfortunately, getting to the places where “Working” is worth it takes a bit too much elbow grease.

If you go

“Working”
Through Feb. 1
Lyric Stage
140 Clarendon St., Boston
$25 – $65, 617-585-5678
lyricstage.com



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Sprint and T-Mobile offer further price discounts

Sprint unveiled a plan on Thursday that gives subscribers access to unlimited data for $60 a month, the industry's cheapest unlimited data offering.

National

Hundreds pay it forward at Florida Starbucks in…

The spontaneous chain of kindness continued for about 11 hours, totaling 457 transactions by the time it ended.

National

Weather system east of Caribbean could turn into…

An area of low pressure located east of the Caribbean Sea has a 50 percent chance of becoming a tropical depression or storm in the next 48 hours, U.S. forecasters…

National

U.S. hospital to discharge doctor treated with experimental…

An American doctor who contracted Ebola treating victims of the deadly virus in Liberia has recovered and will be discharged on Thursday by the Atlanta hospital that treated him with…

Movies

Review: 'When the Game Stands Tall' is both…

The high school football saga "When the Game Stands Tall" fumbles around for a focus while Jim Caviezel offers the most low-key coach in history.

Movies

Girlfriend in a coma: Chloe Grace Moretz

Chloe Grace Moretz is the best cheerleader "If I Stay" could ask for. As the star of the film adaptation of the successful YA novel…

The Word

The Word: Summer lovin' for Zac Efron and…

Ah, the summer romance. So intense, so fleeting. With Labor Day fast approaching, it should come as little surprise that the incredibly surprising romance between…

The Word

The Word: The Zac Efron-Michelle Rodriguez summer fling…

  Ah, the summer romance. So intense, so fleeting. With Labor Day fast approaching, it should come as little surprise that the incredibly surprising romance…

NFL

Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Jets storylines to watch

Metro looks at three Jets storylines to watch as they play the Giants Friday.

NFL

Giants expected to work Corey Washington into first-team…

The day of reckoning for the Giants' fringe players will fall upon them Friday night against the Jets.

Sex

Big weddings may lead to long-term happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. l A…

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…

Tech

Siren: A new dating app that puts women…

Online dating can be brutal, especially for single women. Noting that many women hate wading through inappropriate messages and photos, two tech entrepreneurs decided to…