Lake Michigan College Spring musical explores the world of work
The Lake Michigan College Visual & Performing Arts Department brings a fresh look at how everyday people roll up their sleeves and get the job done with its Spring musical “Working,” directed by Dr. Patrick King, LMC Instructor of Theatre.
Performances will be staged at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, March 10 and 11, and 3 p.m. Sunday, March 12, in the LMC Mendel Center Hanson Theatre on the Benton Harbor Campus. Tickets are on sale now through the Mendel Center box office.
Based on Studs Terkel's best-selling book “Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do,” “Working” was written in 1977 as an experimental musical that combined verbatim recreations of Terkel's interview subjects discussing their work with musical numbers by Stephen Schwartz (“Godspell,” “Pippin,” “Wicked”), Mary Rodgers (“Once Upon a Mattress”), and James Taylor, among others. In 2012, the musical was revised to include new material, including songs written by Lin-Manuel Miranda (“In the Heights,” “Hamilton”).
Terkel's magic as a journalist was that he could talk to anybody – and he did. This musical reflects the experiences of everybody from teachers to truck drivers, ironworkers to millworkers, and housewives to CEOs. Best of all, it keeps evolving.
The LMC production of “Working” is a unique, localized version, drawing upon interviews with people who live and work in southwest Michigan to discuss what it is like to work a job in 2023. According to King, the cast has been talking to people who live in the area, ranging from high schoolers just starting to think about what their career might be to metalworkers, tile layers, and office workers.
“Over the past three years, we've all had cause to think about what work entails,” King said. “The sudden awareness of what constituted "essential work" in 2020, heightened appreciation of frontline workers, and the work-from-home dynamic has led us to view work in new ways. While some changes have lingered and other aspects have returned to near-normal, it seems like an opportune time to revisit a show like ‘Working.’ This production reminds us that work always costs somebody something, and everybody we interact with is carrying a different kind of weight as they get the job done.”
Cast members are: Lane Alsup as Jairo; Max Babcock as Rex, Susan; Einra Baker as Chris, Delores; Shay Beeson as Grace; Evan Cook as Mason Singer; Connor Farr as Allen; Sam Garrison as Dan, Mike; Abby Hosinski as Rose, Roberta; Sierra Loughrin as Kate, Jessica; Shannon Mitchell as Sharon, Lead Man; Sam Moyle as Operator, Fireman; Jakob Prillwitz as Freddy, Greg; Hayden Rooker as Maggie; Emma Stoppenbach as Edy; Lissie Sypian as Amanda; Tyena Taylor as Theresa, Charlie; Grace Teuling as Candy; Mel Weber as Joe; Don Savoie as Frank; Kyle McAndrew, Molly McVay, and Evie Clare as Ensemble.
“We have a loose, fun, adventurous collection of Lake Michigan College students and community members bringing these stories to life. Some even have the privilege and responsibility of interviewing people in the community, performing their stories, and capturing the essence of their individual perspectives on their jobs,” King said. “These cast members are bringing their whole hearts and minds and a lot of energy to the process of making these roles their own while honoring the people they are recreating on stage.”
Making things happen behind the scenes with King are: Rebecca Derbas-Selvidge, music director; Kelsey Trux, choreographer; Elise Bradford, assistant director; Dolphy Clark, lighting design; Alix Bauer, assistant lighting design; Sean Newmiller, costume design; Alan Selvidge, sound design; John Taylor, scenic design; Denise Williams, scenic carpenter; Kyra Utroske, scenic painter; Andrew Quinones, videographer; Rye Tacke, Chloe Dockman, Dayja Randolph, Beth Ward, Roxy Maxwell, and David Ott, build and run crew.
Admission is $18 for adults and $12 for seniors. All students are admitted for free. Tickets are on sale now at TheMendelCenter.com, by calling 269-927-8700, option 1, or by visiting the Mendel Center box office in person. The box office, located in the Grand Upton Hall Lobby, is open weekdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and one hour before events.