Review: A Familiar Set of Laborers Join the Cast of ‘Working’
The current incarnation — an earlier version of which was presented by the Prospect Theater Company in 2012 — features additional written material by Garth Greenberg and songs, if you please, by Lin-Manuel Miranda, the man who gave us “Hamilton.” But its parts have yet to cohere into a dynamic whole (a complaint made about “Working” even in its earliest forms).
The show’s original songwriters are Mr. Schwartz, Craig Carnelia, Micki Grant, Mary Rodgers, Susan Birkenhead and James Taylor. With the exception of Mr. Taylor, each contributed tuneful, wistful melodies that tend to evaporate from memory even as you listen to them. (The unobtrusive, smooth onstage band here is led by Alvin Hough Jr.)
Mr. Taylor composed what remains the show’s breakout anthem, the subliminally angry “Millwork.” It is nicely sung here by Ms. Thoms. Yet as in much of this show — which is choreographed by Avihai Haham — the staging feels distracting and oddly desultory, as if the cast were still awaiting fuller instruction.
This production is blessed with the presences of Andrea Burns (a crowd pleaser as a self-dramatizing waitress) and Javier Muñoz, another “Hamilton” alumnus, who is allowed only once to fully unfurl his sweet, emotive singing voice, in a teary number by Mr. Carnelia called “Fathers and Sons.”
The handsome set, by Donyale Werle, is likely to stir feelings of déjà vu. A neat shift of perspective at the show’s conclusion, achieved by the full raising of a curtain, makes you realize just where you’ve seen it before.
Those doors, those steps, that stately facade? It’s the onstage version of City Center, which fully deserves its own curtain call.
Working: A Musical
Tickets Through June 29 at New York City Center, Manhattan; 212-581-1212, nycitycenter.org. Running time: 1 hour 30 minutes.