Theater Info for the Washington DC region

Woodbridge Senior High School Working

By • Apr 16th, 2007 • Category: Cappies

The bare steel bones of what will be a towering skyscraper frame silhouetted figures; the harsh rhythm of one worker’s hammer sounds – and then the city begins to sing as Woodbridge Senior High School‘s production of Working opens.

Cast of Working

Working debuted on Broadway in 1978 and, in the short time it ran, received five Tony Award nominations. The musical is based on the bestselling book by Studs Terkel, which compiled interviews of common workers. The show lacks an overarching plot but flows from story to story. Within the theme of working, a variety of people, their motives, and their dreams emerge.

The orchestra provided a tempo and energy throughout the show which was maintained by a cast with considerable vocal talent and enthusiasm. The orchestra smoothed the transition between each of the stories and created continuity throughout a variety of songs and characters.

Paul Lingamfelter plays Mike Dillard, an ironworker, who introduces and ends the musical. Lingamfelter’s strong voice and ability to create a believable character was especially evident in the touching song “Fathers and Sons,” Mike’s reflection about his father, also an ironworker, and his dream for his son, whom Mike hopes will aspire to be more than an ironworker.

The capable voices of the ensemble enchanted the audience throughout the musical, and the performers gave their memorable characters surprising depth in a short time. The versatile and talented voice of Julie Sowers, who played the role of supermarket checker, drove the song “I’m Just Movin’.” Talisha Vernon played Maggie Holmes, a cleaning lady, and her voice and excellent characterization made her moving song “Cleaning Women” a delight. Vernon dramatically expressed Maggie’s hopes for her daughter, who she declares will have a better life, a life not spent mostly in the laundry room, and a face, unlike Maggie, who as a cleaning woman feels invisible and ignored.

A minimal set and a few creative and well-utilized props focused attention on the performers. In the song “Traffic Jam,” the ensemble sang while wheeling around in office chairs and getting stuck in gridlock. Sound problems including static and failing mics occurred throughout the show, but sound in a musical with many soloists and a large ensemble is very difficult. Performers were sometimes not well-lit, but lighting was utilized well to artistically backlight actors.

The one word that best describes the musical Working is expression. The audience gains an understanding of the person on the other side of the supermarket checkout counter and catches a glimpse of the face of the “faceless” cleaning maid. The orchestra and the strong voices of the ensemble created a poignant portrait of these underappreciated people and lent pathos to their stories, their frustrations, and their dreams. The Woodbridge production of Working was an excellent retelling of the evocative story of America’s uncommon workers.

Working will also be performed next weekend on April 20 & 21 at 7:30PM and April 22 at 2PM. Don’t miss it.

Reviewed by Lara Linden of Washington Christian.

This review was written by a Cappies high school critic. The Cappies were founded in 1999, for the purpose of celebrating high school theater arts and providing a learning opportunity for theater and journalism students. You can learn more at

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is a program which was founded in 1999, for the purpose of celebrating high school theater arts and providing a learning opportunity for theater and journalism students. You can learn more at

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