Studs Terkel, like James Agee and John Steinbeck, was a celebrant of the American working class. Unlike Agee and Steinbeck, he was neither a poet nor a mythmaker. Mostly he was a documentarian. On his radio show and in his writings — and especially in Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do — Terkel dragged real and heretofore-obscure lives before audiences who never knew that the pedestrian details of their fellow citizens’ work could be so interesting or moving. Working has been turned into a stage production before, briefly and disastrously. That was right at the end of the ’70s, when the whole country was in flight from the working class and wasn’t much interested in backward glances. That’s no longer the case, and this new Working, a musical composed by bards as diverse as James Taylor, Wicked’s Stephen Schwartz, and In the Heights’ Lin Manuel-Miranda, is a helluvalot more timely. It follows the lives of 26 working Americans through their unrich, unfamous, and depthlessly vital lives. Go see it through April 1 at the Caldwell Theatre (7901 N. Federal Highway, Boca Raton). Tickets cost $27 to $50 (and just $10 for students) and can be bought at caldwelltheatre.com.
Wednesdays-Fridays, Sundays. Starts: Feb. 26. Continues through April 1, 2012