The Eastland Performing Arts Program at Reynoldsburg High School will feature a revised production of the musical "Working" April 14-17.

The Eastland Performing Arts Program at Reynoldsburg High School will feature a revised production of the musical "Working" April 14-17.

This version of the musical, based on Stud Terkel's book of the same name written in the early 1970s, features songs and dances around stories of the common worker in everyday American life.

"Terkel was a chronicler of the American way of life for the American worker," said Doreen Dunn, director of the performing arts program.

She said the Pulitzer Prize-winning author used the phrase, "Tell me about your job" to begin his interviews with dozens of Americans which were compiled for the book.

It did not matter if people loved their jobs, or hated them, they all spoke of them in an almost poetic and philosophical manner, Dunn said.

She said the passion expressed by the workers in the book inspired songwriter Stephen Schwartz, composer of the musicals "Godspell" and "Wicked," and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member James Taylor as well as other musicians to turn "Working" into a Broadway musical that opened in 1978.

Productions of the musical have been popular through the years and a revised version of the show is currently playing in Chicago, Dunn said.

With so many talented students and singers available, she said, this production was chosen because it does not feature any one lead character.

She said there are 48 on-stage performers in all, an ensemble of singers and dancers who relive the real life roles of American workers.

"Each character says lines that an actual worker would say, like an oral history - mainly a blue collar worker where they talk about what they do all day and how they feel about what they do," Dunn said.

"This revised version has characters, like hedge fund managers, stonemasons, mill workers, the airline stewardess, the steelworker, and (is) adapted for today.

"It's really a celebration of individuals that make up America and the American work ethic, and the hardness of real lives and poetry of real people," she said.

Also featured in the show are several guest artists, including Greg Shivener, a teacher at Waggoner Road Middle School, and Gloria Carpenter, vocal music instructor for the Eastland Performing Arts program.

Dunn said Shivener and Carpenter were cast because their characters are older people and she wanted to use someone of the actual age.

The music will be performed by an orchestra of Reynoldsburg students called Students and Professionals Working Together , conducted by Reynoldsburg High School orchestra director Kathy Vansant.

Dunn said the music will comprise several genres -- rock and roll, jazz and some ballads, also.

"This is a musical for all ages, 6 and above, with a lot of poetry and metaphor that make it really unique," Dunn said. "Parts are very funny and lively, some serious -- it's got a little bit of everything."

She said the production will take place in the Reynoldsburg High School theater and will last about two hours, including intermission.

The first performance will be a benefit show for the Anita C. Miller Scholarship Fund, scheduled at 8 p.m. Thursday, April 14, with a reception before the show at 7 p.m. Tickets for the Thursday benefit are $12 each.

Performances are scheduled at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, April 15 and 16. A matinee is planned for 3 p.m. on Sunday, April 17. Tickets for those shows are $9 for adults, $6 for seniors and $5 for students.

Dunn said all tickets are sold at the door only one hour before the show.

For more information, call (614) 501-4071.