The Ursinus College Department of Theatre and Dance has been preparing for an exciting Spring season of outstanding shows. Working, directed by Professor Domenick Scudera, with choreography by Professor Karen Clemente and music by Dr. Holly Hubbs, is one you certainly do not want to miss. A musical highlighting the lives and experiences of the working community, Working showcases a powerful and moving piece of the lives of everyday, working Americans. “Working is more than half of your life,” commented Annie Zulick ‘25, whose roles in the show include Frank, Allen Smith, and Theresa. “Just kind of like, actually sitting down and thinking about it, you’ll hear these songs and it’s really pretty music, but they have a lot if you sit and think about it not even for that long. They’re super relatable and have a
lot of meaning because everyone could connect to working in some way.” Zulick’s fellow castmates echoed this sentiment when reflecting on the value of presenting Working. “I think it’s really important, especially because we’re doing the localized version with highlighting of all these members on campus and showing these jobs and a glimpse of these people’s lives that you wouldn’t necessarily think of. I feel like giving them a chance to be seen and valued is a really great opportunity, especially to be presented in such a way like a musical is really cool,” explains Siobhan Kalfur ‘25, who plays Amanda McKenney and other supporting roles.
The localization of the musical is what makes Ursinus’ version of Working so impactful to our immediate community. Ten local Collegeville workers had their stories implemented into the script alongside the original storyline. These members of our community include Ursinus’ Dr. Rebecca Lyczak (Professor of Biology), Margie Connor (Administrative Assistant), Pedro Luth (Safety Officer), Steve Gehringer (Director of Facilities), Larry Zimmerman (Carpenter), Bobby Lee Lesher (Custodial Maintenance), Neil Tyson (Grounds Supervisor), Sam Mamber (student), and Matt Nieves-Hoblin (student) as well as Allen Smith (Manager/Bartender at the Trappe Tavern).
The company was tasked to alter the script so that the individual stories would fit alongside the original plotlines of the musical. “It was weird because we, stage managers and ASM’s, usually get a script at the very beginning, but we didn’t because we still had to write the script, so we really flew by the seat of our pants for a little bit,” remarked Stage Manager Elliot Cetinski ’24. “So, it was a little stressful for me because it was my first time having to deal with not having material, but then when we finally got it printed out and we finally read it all through together, it was super cool to see, like, ‘Oh, those are people I know and I’ve seen on campus before, and now they’re in the show!’” Additionally, Director Prof. Domenick Scudera stated in a press release for Working, when describing the inclusion of local narratives in the show, “The result is a musical that is a collage of songs and monologues that give a full picture of workers in America and in our local community.”
Especially in the wake of the pandemic, the choice of performing Working has proven more essential than ever before. Marie Sykes ‘24, a percussionist in the pit band and Grizzly Features Editor, stated, “I think Working is so important, especially coming out of the pandemic because all of these jobs were considered essential work either during quarantine or immediately out of it when those roles weren’t filled, but they still don’t get the recognition for how difficult these jobs are and how much they contribute to society.” Exemplifying the lives of people who must continue to do their job to maintain their own lives, as well as the lives of others, provides a unique opportunity for reflection and gratitude for the people around us. By choosing to include members of our com- munity in this piece, the already profound plot is driven deeper into the hearts of the audience. What truly proves to be amazing about Working is how the company accurately captures the grief, hardship, and perseverance of the American worker, while evoking a sense of community across people from all walks of life. The effort to convey a realistic portrayal of what it means to work is evident in the company’s performance. The Ursinus community should mark their calendars for March 23rd through the 26th to ensure that all get the opportunity to witness this incredible production.
Renie Christensen: firstname.lastname@example.org