Q&A with Working Cast Members

The stage at the F. Scott Black Theatre was brought to life by the talented cast of Working: A Musical. They energetically provide their perspective of the characters they portrayed.

Dorian Smith as Freddy Rodriguez, Eddie Jaffe, Ralph Werner
Describe your character/s
Freddie: This character is a cool laid-back dude who works as a delivery man. He loves the freedom of cycling around delivering food. Freddie is most like me in his ability to find happiness even in the worst of jobs. He strives to make everything he does enjoyable and gets a little carried away with it sometimes. Freddie wants nothing more than to leave everyone he knows behind him in that way he is different than me.

Eddie Jaffe, oh where do I begin? Eddie Jaffe is a fifty-eight-year-old man that works as a publicist. He is similar to me in that he wants to be a part of everything, he spreads himself out so thin because of his FOMO. His physicalities are unique to him. He has a particular way he walks and speaks that is distinctly different than me.

Ralf Warner is a student who ran a mutual fund at his school. Ralf is a dreamer like myself. He has dreams of who he wants to marry, what he wants to be and who he is going to become. Ralf is different to me because of his soft-spoken, almost timid presence.

What do you admire most about your character/s? dislike most?
I love Freddie’s joy of delivering food, Eddie Jaffee’s quirks, and Ralf’s big dreams.

What did you find most challenging about playing your character?
For Eddie, the biggest challenge was transforming into the character. Figuring out how he would walk, what accent I should give him, what quirks should he have, etc

Do you have any “work” that you can point to and say “I did that”?
I have many things I could point to. I could point to my dance training with Peabody, or my historical reenactments I did with Fort McHenry when I was younger. I am still working on things to point to. Right now I’m pointing to photography and the images I take. Unlike my characters, I don’t have one specific thing I point to. I have worked on many things and continue to discover other things about me and my interests, so that way later in life I could point to it and say “I did that”.

Wave your magic wand, what show would you do next, why?
If I could wave my magic wand and do any show I would do a movie with JK Rowling in her next Harry Potter film!

Raychel Nguyen as Terry Mason, Theresa Liu

Describe your character.
Terry Mason, the flight attendant and I are similar because we both feel the need to dress for society. In a way, we enjoy it, but some days we just want to wear comfy clothes. Her job requires her to dress up. I feel the need to dress up for school/college or even going to the gym. She wants to and succeeds at getting out of Kankakee, her home town. I am pretty content with the area I’m living in right now. Theresa Liu is the nanny. She and I are both Asian. I picture her to be in her mid 30s while I am 17. She knows how to make some good turon (a Filipino dessert!) while I do not know how to cook!

What do you admire most about your character/s? dislike most?
I admire dislike how Terry is just taking this job to get out of Kankakee. She should do whatever she wants with her life, but she’s really only a flight attendant to get out of Illinois. She finds a few things that she enjoys, but she doesn’t pursue it ! Theresa is very hardworking. Although she cannot do simple things like sing her daughter to sleep, it’s for a good reason. She must work hard to make sure her daughter will have a better life. By taking care of a little girl who isn’t hers, she finds the joy in seeing her grow up.

What did you find most challenging about playing your character?
I find it challenging to play an older woman, especially one who doesn’t see her daughter often. Also, Terry Mason is supposed to be nice all the time to her customers. When she gets angry about the (fucking) omelette, I find it overwhelming (and I’m sure Terry Mason does too) that she gets so heated. All of her angry that she has been keeping in is FINALLY released!

Do you have any “work” that you can point to and say “I did that”?
Yes! Currently, I work at a nail salon. My specialty is creating designs on long acrylic nails. I just love it when customers post pictures of their nails afterwards. MY ART IS ON THEIR NAILS ! That is amazing! In the previous year, I’ve done Christmas trees, reindeers, names, initials, Jack the Skeleton, frankenstein, vampires, etc…

Wave your magic wand, what show would you do next, why?
I would do Hamilton even though it’s impossible. I’m going to be honest and say that I don’t like history, but I know Lin Manuel Miranda is great! The songs in Hamilton are sooooo catchy! I love it!

Sebastian Maizel as Raj Chadha, Utkarsh Trujillo, Charlie Blossom, Man 2

Describe your character/s
Charlie Blossom is 19 years old unemployed. He’s a little crazy, but he’s a pacifist.
What do you admire most about your character/s? dislike most?
He’s not afraid to be blunt, but he’s way too blunt when he shouldn’t.
What did you find most challenging about playing your character?
Being crazy and truthful at the same time.
Do you have any “work” that you can point to and say “I did that”?
The show is something that I’m really glad to be part of. I’m so happy that I get to work with such an amazing cast. This show is something I can point to and say I did that with amazing people.

Wave your magic wand, what show would you do next, why?
I think “Anything Goes”.

Amanda Halcott as Sharon Atkins, Grace Clements

Describe your character/s.
Sharon (Receptionist): Sharon reminds me a lot of my mom, who is an admin assistant for Facilities at CCBC Dundalk. I remember one time calling her on her work number and hearing, “Joy Halcott speaking, can I take a message?” in her smiling, customer service tone, I was like, “Um, mommy it’s me…” and she instantly dropped it and told me she’s not allowed to take personal calls at work. As someone who’s only worked restaurant jobs, I had a hard time relating to someone who gets to sit at a desk all day. But Zach worked with me and Sebastian and showed us that people can really be idiots, and call in for the most ridiculous reasons. In that way I guess the two jobs are similar.

Grace (Millworker): I love Grace’s strength and I think she’s a total badass. In Stud Terkel’s novel, she was the union rep for the millworkers and cared so much for her fellow laborers, as well as being so smart. She knew all the demographics of the women by heart. I connect to imagery of pirates when she sings about her granddad the sailor even though I know that’s not true just because I was obsessed with Pirates of the Caribbean for a while as a kid and I think it’s humorous to imagine that if she didn’t work In a luggage factory she’d be out pillaging the high seas. I wish she didn’t have a line about “men can only think of one thing at a time,” but when you are playing real people, it be like that sometimes.

Do you have any “work” that you can point to and say “I did that”?
That’s a good question for our Stage Manager. Actors get all the love in theatre, I don’t need to point to my work, I get applause every night. If you watch during the bows, you’ll see the actors wave their hand high up above the audience’s heads to the tech booth. I think a lot of people don’t know who they’re clapping for at that moment. I’ve Stage Managed twice now, and it was an amazing experience…that nobody but yourself will seem to understand what it is or care about. Anyways, that’s the theme of the entire finale, that all the time people build these buildings and there’s no playbill or credits that roll that praise them.

Wave your magic wand, what show would you do next, why?
I’ll be SMing True West next semester at Catonsville. And I need to be in Chicago before I die.

Jim Egan as Anthony Coelho, Joe Zutty

Describe your character/s.
I can relate to Anthony in how he is meticulous with his construction jobs and in how, I gather, he feels an almost spiritual connection to the materials he uses. I can’t claim to match his dedication to or love for what he does, but I “get” him.
I see plenty of Joe in myself, moreso who and where I’ve been over the last 5-10 years. Because of a disability I stopped working at 37 and started receiving Medicare and monthly checks at 40. My financial situation is much like that of a pension recipient. Over the years I have mourned my previous ability to hold down a 40 hour life is.
I admire Anthony’s discipline in seeing through a job done well. I like Joe’s big heart, his honesty, and his vulnerability in how he mourns what he used to be. I can’t say I dislike either character.
I found finding literal voices for my characters probably my biggest challenge. Selling an audience on Joe took a lot of thought, but using my potential for empathy, and appealing to the gentle, caring natures of Raychel and Sebastian’s allowed me to gradually feel Joe come to life.
I had one job recently with which Joe’s former clerking probably shares monotony. It was as an unload crew member for Khol’s department store, simply open boxes and sorting merchandise. The closest aspect my holding that job might share with Anthony’s is the desire I had to make simple improvements in operations to get the job done more efficiently and safely. There was at times a sort of tunnel vision I experienced in pushing through on assignments and tackling more work, but those instances were few and far between.
The show I would love to do next is a little known Scottish production that mimics the plot of the 1974 (?) Scottish movie The Wicker Man and focuses on a fictitious attempt to adapt the movie with a troupe whose talents leave a lot to be desired. I’m sorry I don’t have the name of the show.
Dorian Smith as Freddy Rodriguez, Eddie Jaffe, Ralph Werner
Raychel Nguyen as Terry Mason, Theresa Liu
Sebastian Maizel as Raj Chadha, Utkarsh Trujillo, Charlie Blossom, Man 2
Amanda Halcott as Sharon Atkins, Grace Clements
Jim Egan as Anthony Coelho, Joe Zutty

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