Working in DC
Photo provided by Working in DC

We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.

Success! You're on the list.

Working in DC

Labor Day is no holiday for the several dozen D.C. cast and crew members of Working in DC, a District-specific update of the 1978 musical Working that opens Monday evening, Sept. 6. Groundbreaking, genius, and poorly received at its initial Broadway run, the musical brings back to life the laborers depicted in Studs Terkel’s 1974 interview-based book Working. Composer and adapter Stephen Schwartz may be more famous for Godspell, Wicked, and writing songs for Disney films, but in 1978, he was the guy who wrote that flop where Patti LuPone played a sex worker. Fortunately for employees everywhere, the unconventional musical gained fans over time. Subsequent productions have allowed theaters to choose from the original two dozen characters, as well as incorporate songs from newer licensed versions of Working. The D.C. production includes “Delivery” and “A Very Good Day,” two tunes by Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda. Although the outdoor performance at Black Lives Matter Plaza isn’t affiliated with any specific theater, it will feature area actors frequently spotted on the city’s major stages including Thomas Adrian Simpson and Alyssa Keegan. (The AFL-CIO and Labor Heritage Foundation provided funding and logistical support.) Performances take place in front of the AFL-CIO building on 16th Street NW, just north of the White House. About 100 reserved tickets are available for each performance via a pay-what-you-can website. You can also show up and clamber for the best possible sidewalk view—stay for the entire 90-minute performance or just a few songs. In the spirit of Working, there’s nothing wrong with a musical coffee break. Working runs weekend evenings through Sept. 19 at Black Lives Matter Plaza, 16th Street NW, between H and K streets. Show up and stand or pay-what-you-can to reserve seats.