Working is a stage musical adapted by Stephen Schwartz and Nina Faso from the book by Studs Terkel. The songs are by Craig Carnelia, Micki Grant, Mary Rodgers, Susan Birkhead, Stephen Schwartz, and James Taylor. The dance music was composed by Michele Brourman. It opened on Broadway on May 14, 1978 and was originally directed by Stephen Schwartz.
The play consists of two acts and has a run time of about 2 hours, with the first act being just a few minutes shorter than the second.
Working chronicles a day in the life of the average American worker. Some of the characters include Mike LeFevre (Mike Dillard, in some revisions), an ironworker, Delores Dante, a waitress, Anthony Coelho, a stone mason, Frank Decker, a trucker, Kate Rushton, a housewife, Joe Zutty, a retiree, Conrad Swibel, a UPS delivery man (or a gas man in earlier revisions), and many others. All of the monologues in Working are derived from interviews taken from actual workers, and while names have been changed, their stories have not. Working is very different from most stage musicals, in the respect that there are no "lead parts," except (arguably) Mike LeFevre, and there is no unified plot. There is also no narrative thread carrying the action foreword, but is arranged by juxtaposition so that one scene makes a smooth transition into the next and what one character is saying is related in content to the character who precedes and follows. This makes Working an excellent ensemble piece, because it gives many actors a chance to share the spotlight. But, it is also possible to have a small cast with Working having a number of roles doubled. If all the roles that could be doubled were, the show would only have a cast of nine - with Mike (LeFevre) Dillard being the only role not doubled.
The play has been revised several times since its opening on Broadway, and in the revisions some of the names and professions of the characters have been changed. Some parts and their corresponding parts have been dropped and replaced altogether, for example, the newsboy song which was in the 1978 version is not in the most recent version, instead being replaced by a supermarket checker. However, due to the fragmented nature of the play, skilled directors are able to add and remove scenes as they see necessary. It is possible to have both songs, or neither, in any production of Working.