Stages honoring essential workers with ‘Working’

COURTESY OF A MAGICAL JOURNEY THRU STAGES

Live theater is back on the third floor of the Auditorium Center, 875 E. Main St., Rochester, with A Magical Journey Thru Stages’ performance of “Working: A Musical” at 7:30 p.m. June 11-12 and 2 p.m. June 13.  

The show is based on Studs Terkel’s book of interviews of various American workers. With updated songs by Lin-Manuel Miranda and favorites by Craig Carnelia, Stephen Schwartz and James Taylor, “Working” touches on the humanity and integrity that is evident from how workers focus and use their consciousness in and through their jobs.   

“Working: A Musical” stars Owen Palomaki, left, Molli Woods, Addie Jones, Eva O’Neil, Enzo D’Jesus, Melissa Hobson, Brian Silloway, Emma Barstow, Frances Lovett and Julia Santoli.

“Stages dedicates our show to the many essential workers, in a rainbow of occupations, whose strength, caring and commitment to others kept our community going during the pandemic,” said Sherry Vile, executive director.  

This show focuses on workers who keep the world moving forward every day: a mason, millworker, waitress, UPS delivery person, fireman and nanny, among others. Through songs and monologues, the cast of high school students from Brighton, Farmington, Greece, Penfield, Victor and Webster will explore the perspectives of individual workers who sometimes feel invisible.  

“This cast understands and embraces the gravity of portraying the struggles and triumphs of real people while honoring individual professions and the spirit of the American worker,” said Lisa Shearer, director of production operations.    

With community theater shows and school productions canceled during the pandemic, some of the cast spent time this past year developing and expanding their ability to develop characters for a show through in-depth scene studies at Stages.   

“These scene studies have helped me and so many others grow in all aspects of acting,” cast member Brian Silloway said. “Now, we can use those skills in the first live musical at Stages since the pandemic started. It’s an honor to be a part of it.”  

Each cast member portrays numerous, entirely unrelated, characters and expresses their sentiments about the job they are doing, how they ended up in that position and why they do it. 

“This show is the perfect way to end a year of serious acting coaching,” director Matt Mayne said. “The performers have been working all year at their acting chops and ‘Working’ is the best way to bring theater back to Stages. We’ve been working and now it’s time to show the fruits of their labor, so to speak.” 

Laura Marron, Mayne and Kayla Osika were responsible for casting. Costumes are designed by Emily Lord. The set and lighting design are envisioned by Garett Pembrook, and projections are designed by Eli Golding. Other tech roles, including stage manager and sound designer, are students who perform at Stages and gravitated toward providing technical support.      

Visit mjtstages.com for tickets.