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Review: 'Working' show is both upbeat and pensive

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 12, 2012 at 7:59 pm •  Published: December 12, 2012

There's a modern segment on cubicle life in which one worker (Kenita Miller, sassy and resilient) says "I have friends who would kill for this job, for any job" even though she has a "Satan boss." The cast expertly swirls rolling tables with laptops around the small stage, in one of several snappy numbers by choreographer Josh Rhodes.

One of the most visually impressive scenes is beautifully led by Marie-France Arcilla as luggage factory worker Grace. Arcilla ruefully sings Taylor's dispirited "Millwork" while the cast robotically mimes an extended, trance-like repetition of the arduous, 40-second routine Grace performs all day, every day.

With boyish enthusiasm, Nehal Joshi enacts Freddy, a young fast-food worker who celebrates his moments of freedom provided by people who need "Delivery," a song by Miranda for which Rhodes provides another animated ensemble number.

Donna Lynne Champlin is memorably disgruntled as a third-grade teacher of many decades who bemoans the current state of education (and today's impolite, distracted children) in the poignant solo, "Nobody Tells Me How." Fresh-faced Jay Armstrong Johnson plays a pensive cop-turned-firefighter, and then a sleep-deprived big-rig driver in Taylor's anthem to independence and selfishness, "Brother Trucker."

Beowulf Boritt's set design cleverly enlarges the stage by creating a loft for the musicians, running a staircase up one side, and using black netting to create a semi-opaque area at the rear.

The life- and work-affirming finale, "Something To Point To" by Carnelia, sums up the show's simple message: that everyone can find something in their daily work to be proud of.