Actors Theatre of Indiana Presents: ‘Working’
The Studio Theater
April 29–May 22, 2022
Actors Theatre of Indiana invites you to join them as they wrap up their 2021–22 season with “Working.” From the book by Studs Terkel, adapted by Stephen Schwartz, “Working” is the examination of 26 people from all walks of life, proving that it’s more than just a job for the average working American.
Based on Terkel’s bestselling book of interviews with American workers, “Working” paints a vivid portrait of the men and women that the world so often takes for granted: the schoolteacher, the phone operator, the waitress, the millworker, the mason and the housewife, just to name a few. Nominated for six Tony Awards, this classic has been updated for a modern age, featuring new songs by Tony Award-winning Lin-Manuel Miranda, as well as favorites by Stephen Schwartz, Craig Carnelia and James Taylor.
*This show does contain mature themes.
Meet the Cast and a Couple of Crew Members
I spoke with the director and many of the cast members—some from out-of-state—on what they hope the audiences will take away from “Working,” and some shared how the musical resonates with their own life stories
Tran is excited to be back working with ATI! You may have caught him previously in “Million Dollar Quartet,” and you may have also seen him in IRT’s “You Can’t Take It With You,” Summit Performance’s “Silent Sky” or a myriad of productions in Cincinnati (including but not limited to his one-man show “Mongrel,” developed and produced at Know Theatre of Cincinnati).
“‘Working’ is sort of an homage to my family,” Tran expressed. “All of my family is blue collar, so this [production] doesn’t feel particularly challenging to me. My mom is pushing 60, and she had me when she was quite young. And because she had me when she was quite young, she didn’t have time to develop new work skills, and she has worked in a factory of some kind or another my whole life. For me, [‘Working’] is kind of about remembering where I came from.”
Sledge brings years of training and performing with him to this production. Among these are his works in theater, including “The Wild Party” and “Ragtime” with Footlite Musicals and” Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat” with Fort Wayne Civic Theatre. His concerts include performing with Heather Headley in the “Coming Home” concert with Unity Choir in Fort Wayne.
“This is really exciting for me,” Sledge stated. “This is my first professional show in a long time, and it’s exciting that I can be where I live and work at this quality level with professionals who are all committed to the same thing and knock it out of the park. It’s been fun exploring and looking at the stories of real people who have grown to find purpose and value in what they do. I think that’s something we can all relate to, whether we’re doing our dream job or doing a job that we just like.”
Pressman is an actor, singer, clown, comedian, calligrapher and medical educator. Favorite credits include National Tour and Madison Square Garden productions of “Rudolph the Musical,” “Amos & Boris” at South Coast Repertory and “The Composer Is Dead” at Disney Concert Hall. Her solo show, “Deadlift,” has been produced in Los Angeles and Philadelphia to rave reviews. Aviva toured internationally with Amazon Prime as a singer/improviser for the show “Good Omens.” Her voice can be heard in anime, Netflix dubs, podcasts, commercials and even toys!
“What I hope people get out of this is that they have some perceptions challenged,” Pressman shared. “I think there’s a lot of power in the fact that these are real people’s words. You’re seeing something in common with them and are thinking about the ways that we’re all connected. The way that I’m developing my characters at this point is very technical. It’s my job as an actress to make these characters truthful and for the audience to be able to distinguish between them.”
Lillie Eliza Thomas
Thomas is incredibly excited to be making her Actors Theatre of Indiana debut! Some Florida productions she has been a part of include “Little Shop of Horrors,” “Guys and Dolls” and as Esmeralda in “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.” She received the Orlando Sentinel Critic’s Choice for Best Lead Actress in a Musical and for Best Featured Actress in a Musical and was noted as Orlando Theater’s Best of 2021 Leading Actress in a Musical.
“I want the audience to respect other people’s journeys and to acknowledge their feelings and emotions and what they go through on a day-to-day basis,” Thomas said. “Honestly, just to recognize that we all have purpose. Your journey is going to be different from somebody else’s, and we can learn from somebody else’s story, so it’s good to have open minds, open hearts, open eyes and open ears.”
Fox is excited to be directing for Actors Theatre Indiana for the first time. She is currently the head of musical theatre at Western Illinois University in Macomb, Illinois, and has an MFA in acting and directing from California State University, Long Beach. She is a native of Montana and has performed, directed and choreographed extensively in that part of the country. Lysa is a founding member of Venture Theatre in Billings, Montana, where she served as both the education director and artistic director before leaving the area in 2008.
“What I love about this [production] is, we sometimes look at some of those jobs and we think ‘grunt work,’” Fox said. “But what is really beautiful in this script is that there’s many people that have these jobs and love them, and they’re not what you think they are, and they’re not who you think they are because of the jobs that they have. So, I hope ‘Working’ holds a mirror up to people. I’m very excited to do this show. I was supposed to do ‘Damn Yankees’, but that got cancelled and ATI graciously kept me on, so this is a couple of years in the making.”
Worcel is choreographing ATI’s production of “Working.” She played in the National Broadway tours of “42nd Street” and “Anything Goes.” Regional credits include “A Chorus Line,” “Annie” and “Godspell.” Carol co-owns Worcel Shepard Productions (www.WorcelShepardProductions.com) with directing/choreography credits including Sandi Patty’s “Le Voyage,” the NBA Pacer’s Pacemates, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Circle of Lights, IndyFringe, Beef and Boards, The Indy 500, as well as regional theaters, tours and opening ceremonies for national clients.
“The way that I approached the choreography for these numbers is that they are real people telling a story with choreography,” Worcel shared. “So, the choreography is not presentational like most of your bigger musicals. The character has to tell the story, and for me, the lyric is very important because that’s what I’m listening for cue-wise. I told the cast on some of the ensemble pieces where they’re dancing together to bring their own style to this—it’s not a ‘Rockette’ thing. This is telling a story by their character, and we’re having fun with it.”