Friday, October 5, 2007


What with my ongoing health annoyances (nothing serious) and lack of Internet connection, I never ended up talking about Starlight Dinner Theater's Working. Nor do I have the program with me right now, which means I'd mutilate any names and get them mixed up if I tried.

However, they have only two shows left, so I want to say SOMETHING.

I've always liked Studs Terkel, though I'll confess I've not read his complete work. I was taken with his style when I was in college and liked reading all the different voices he was able to capture. I admire that even more now because I know how difficult it can be to translate oral histories to the page in a way that makes sense, captures the person's voice, and is readable.

The musical takes that even a step further--it tries to capture the authenticity of the voices and put them to music in a believable way. Given the number of composers involved in the project, I was a little surprised at how all of the music seemed close in genre.

There were many touching moments in the evening as well as some upbeat ones. I enjoyed the song by the millworker (again--no program, so I don't have the right song names) and the teacher.

I have mixed feelings about the song Fathers and Sons. I started out being really touched by it. It was a heart-rending piece about wanting a better world for one's son even while knowing that the son won't appreciate it during the father's lifetime. However, it was too long of a song to hold the same emotion. By the end of it, I was no longer relating to the singer. I needed some emotional relief or variety that the song really doesn't provide.

It's almost best to approach Working as more of a concert with dramatic monologues than a traditional musical. There isn't a storyline per se; nor is there the typical tension and resolution. Rather it is a portrait of working people, something most of us can relate to.

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