Cast takes its job seriously with 'Working'

DEBORAH M. DUNLAP, ThisWeek Community News
The cast of St. Charles Preparatory School's spring musical, "Working," rehearses Wednesday, April 23. They are (first row, from left): Natalie Belford and Maggie Turek of Grove City High School, Nick Anderson of St. Charles; (second row) Mary Steele of Bishop Hartley High School, Lara Falb of Hilliard Davidson High School and Maria Granger of Whetstone High School.

St. Charles Preparatory School's drama department is set to raise the curtain this weekend with the newly updated musical, Working, a production celebrating everyday people who turn out to be not so ordinary.

The show, which has been called "the working man's A Chorus Line," is being staged for a fourth time at St. Charles.

In fact, it's a favorite of St. Charles senior Finn Cleary, who plays Joe Zutty, a retired shipping clerk. This is Cleary's 12th and final production under St. Charles theater director Doug Montgomery.

"This show, you can come to it, you can laugh and you can have a great time, and you can not think about it at all -- and you still will have tons of fun. But you can also come and think about what people are saying and you can think about how we all do work and what it's really like to work," Cleary said.

"There are a lot of different ways you can look at this show, and a lot of different ways you can come away from it also," he said.

Working is a musical based on the Studs Terkel book Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do, which features interviews with people from different regions and occupations. Newly adapted by Stephen Schwartz, known for Wicked, Pippin and Godspell, from an original adaptation by Schwartz and Nina Faso, the musical explores work from the perspective of people from all walks of life. Their insight is often surprising, said Nick Anderson, a junior at St. Charles who plays fireman Tom Patrick.

"The first time I read the script, I had this perception of what I thought firemen were like. We kind of put them above everyone else. We see them as rescue heroes, like action figures. But in reading through the book, which really sets this apart from other shows, I saw how truthful it really is."

St. Charles sophomore Jackson Mittlesteadt agreed the material sets the show apart.

"This show is funny and serious -- and very diverse. It's truly unique," he said.

Maggie Turek, a senior at Grove City High School, was surprised by the insights of her character, a housewife, as well as others in the production.

"This show has such a broad range of people in it, it's amazing. It's really relatable."

With graduation right around the corner, this also marks Turek's final production with the school. She praised Montgomery for his dedication and inspiration.

"Other directors were interested in theater in high school or college," she said. "They are an English teacher first, then a director. But I feel that because Mr. Montgomery was a professional actor for most of his life and went to school for it, he's kind of a director first and an English teacher second.

"He's been such an inspiration. I've done things that I never thought I could do under his direction."

The show will be performed at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, May 1-3, and 3 p.m. Sunday, May 4, in the Campus Theater, 2010 E. Broad St.

Adult tickets are $10; student tickets are $5.

For ticket reservations, call the school at 614-252-6714.