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

Humans should thank ancient Scottish fish fossils for…

By Kate KellandLONDON (Reuters) - Scientists studying fossils have discovered that the intimate act of sexual intercourse used by humans was pioneered by ancient armored…

National

Comet makes rare close pass by Mars as…

By Irene KlotzNEW YORK (Reuters) - A comet from the outer reaches of the solar system on Sunday made a rare, close pass by Mars…

Local

NYPD: Man found hanging in Brooklyn subway station

A man was found hanging inside a Brooklyn subway station on Saturday morning, police said. The man, who still had not been identified on Sunday,…

Local

Only church destroyed in 9/11 set to rebuild

St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, the only house of worship destroyed during the terrorist attacks on 9/11, held a groundbreaking ceremony Saturday to start the…

Television

9 things we learned about 'Hannibal' Season 3…

There’s plenty of fall television to be excited about, but the crowd inside the Paley Center for Media on Saturday night only wanted one thing:…

Going Out

Watch home cooks try to impress Tom Colicchio…

Is what you’re making for dinner tonight good enough to serve “Top Chef” judge Tom Colicchio? That’s the standard that some of the city’s best…

Television

‘Homeland’ recap: Season 4, Episode 4 ‘Iron in…

Carrie Mathison, what are you doing?! Don’t seduce virgins! More on that later: Lots of crazy stuff went down on the "Iron in the Fire" ep of "Homeland"!

Movies

Box office: Brad Pitt kills Nazis, also Nicholas…

This weekend, Brad Pitt's second WWII movie, "Fury," rolled into the lead, while the latest Nicholas Sparks movie, "The Best of Me," got little love.

College

College football AP Top 25 rankings: Mississippi State…

College football AP Top 25 rankings: Mississippi State holds off FSU

NHL

NHL Power Rankings: Sharks, Canadiens, Blackhawks out in…

NHL Power Rankings: Sharks, Canadiens, Blackhawks out in front

NFL

DeMarco Murray carries Cowboys to win over Giants

The Giants knew they would need to stop DeMarco Murray if they were going to leave Dallas with a win. It didn't matter.

NFL

Jets trade for wide receiver Percy Harvin: Report

According to Fox Sports' Jay Glazer, the Jets have sent a conditional draft pick to the Seahawks for wide receiver Percy Harvin.

Wellbeing

Gabby Bernstein: The 3 questions I always get

For the last decade, I’ve been writing self-help books and preaching the Gospel of Gabby to audiences throughout the world. And no matter what country…

Wellbeing

Health News: 5K for lung cancer, free yoga,…

Get some fresh air to benefit lung cancer research On Friday, the first-ever Brooklyn Free to Breathe Run/Walk will take place Oct. 26 at Cadman Plaza…

Education

Can these two college students come up with…

Two Atlanta college students say they have an idea for a simple test that would quickly diagnosis the Ebola virus - and it all started…

Education

Chances are, the average college student isn't taking…

As a bachelor’s degree becomes more expensive than ever, one new report is criticizing colleges for the content of those pricey educations. The American Council…