WORKING Opens at the Briggs on March 1

by Susan B. Apel

Have you now, or have you ever had, a job? Do you love your hairdresser, can’t live without your accountant? Who is the worker who helps get you through the week? 

WORKING, a musical with new songs by Hamilton’s Lin-Manuel Miranda, is set to open at the Briggs Opera House on March 1. It is brought to you by a homegrown Upper Valley theater company, We The People, who staged 1776 last year to sold-out audiences.

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The musical is based on a book of the same name by Studs Terkel. Terkel interviewed hundreds of Americans in all walks of life: priests and piano tuners, bus drivers and bookkeepers, surgeons and secretaries, waitresses and writers.  Terkel is an Everyman philospher about work, saying that it “ . . . is about a search, too, for daily meaning, as well as daily bread, for recognition as well as cash, for astonishment rather than torpor; in short, for a sort of life rather than a Monday through Friday sort of dying."

This is a highly interactive production, including talkbacks following the Friday and Sunday performances featuring your smart Upper Valley neighbors. Here’s a schedule:

  • Friday, March 1: Talk-back with the director, members of the cast and creative team
  • Sunday, March 3rd:  Voices of Work from the Upper Valley
    • Join author and public TV Commentator, Willem Lange
    • Parish Players Director of “Pieces of Work”, Toni Egger
    • TV executive turned sheep farmer, Peggy Allen

  • Friday, March 8th: How We Tell Stories of Work: Panelists will discuss how we understand the work of others, and how we tell their stories. 
    • Artist Heidi Broner, whose paintings are featured in our promotion for the show.
    • Author Joni Cole, author of the book “Water Cooler Diaries, Women Across America Share Their Day at Work”
    • A local radio journalist - TBD
  • Sunday, March 10th:  Bridges and Barriers to Work: Panelists will discuss the barriers that many face in finding meaningful work and what communities can do to help bridge those barriers.
    • Matt Dunne from the Center for Rural Innovation
    • Beth Crowe from the Woodstock Job Bank
    • Dr. Robert McLellan, Professor of Medicine at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College
  • Thursday, March 14th:  Entering the Workforce: Panelists will discuss what organizations in our community are doing to help our youth successfully enter the workforce and begin meaningful careers
    • Chris Overtree, Executive Director of the Aloha Foundation;
    • Others TBD
  • Friday, March 15th:  Taking Action the role of Government in supporting workers: Panelists will discuss how our government and the private sector is working to support the health, safety and rights of workers.
    • Sarah Copeland-Hanzas, VT Representative from Orange-2.
    • Tom Stevens, VT Rep, Washington-Chittenden County
  • Sunday, March 17th:  The Role of Theater in Inspiring Community Conversation: Panelists will discuss the dynamic role that our creative community plays in tackling the issues of our times and supporting civil discourse.

    • Amanda Rafuse, Director of Artistic Outreach at Northern Stage
    •  Maureen Burford, Director of Creative Lives
    •  Jarvis Green, Founder of JAG

The producers have rated Working as the equivalent of PG-13, suitable for mature middle school and high school students, but not for young children. 

WORKING opens on March 1 at the Briggs Opera House in White River Junction, VT.  The show will run for ten performances through March 17.  Tickets are available at https://www.wethepeopletheatre.com/

Contact:  Perry Allison, producer at perry@wethepeopletheatre.com

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