Early next month, the Junction City Little Theater will do more than whistle while it works.
The first weekend in September, the JCLT will put on the musical “Working: A Musical,” a show that highlights blue collar and otherwise often-forgotten people who do nonetheless essential support jobs.
The show shines a spotlight on people from house wives to stone masons.
Director Mary Louise Stahl called the show “funny, sad, pithy, and joyous.”
The show includes music from Lin Manuel Miranda, James Taylor, and Stephen Schwartz. It is based on interviews of ordinary, working class people by journalist Studs Terkel.
Joshua Childs is an experienced local theater participant.
He has participated in the Junction City theater scene since he was a child, taking part in summer acting camps.
“This is the first musical I’ve been in, in two years here at JCLT,” Childs said.
He chose to take part because his sister, Brittany Lamb, is co-directing the show with Stahl.
“She talked me into it, but it is nice being back,” Childs said. “It’s a nostalgic feeling — being in rehearsals all night and doing it again. And it’s fun. I’ve always enjoyed doing theater, so it’s nice to give to the community and share what you’ve got.”
Childs hopes community members who choose to attend the show absorb the message.
“I really, really love the message that it shares just about the importance of working and kind of see a whole bunch of people in their roles that they play, in their jobs, and what they give,” he said. “It really helps people look inward and kind of find a sense of worth. You know? No matter how big or small you are, whatever job you have, it’s something special that you can give. And whether you’re getting paid a million dollars a year or minimum wage, you’re still contributing.”
Actor Lorelei Palmer is relatively new to the stage. Her first show took place in spring, when she played the role of Bloody Mary in the show “South Pacific.”
As a military wife, she finds the upcoming show inspiring. Palmer particularly enjoys the character of the house wife.
“Even though you’re a house wife, you still work,” she said. “Especially for me. I’m a military spouse and so every three to four years we’re moving. It’s almost hard really to keep a job — to stay a a job. And so to me that really struck a cord.”
Palmer feels the show will appeal to people from every walk of life.
“There’s something for every single one of us,” she said. “It really touches a cord in our hearts. Because if we’re not working, our spouse is working.”
Dave Sampson plays a mason and sings in the chorus in the upcoming show.
“I’ve been involved in theater since I was, I guess, in high school,” he said.
Sampson has spent most of his time behind the scenes, but has chosen to come out into the limelight for the JCLT. “Working” will be the hardest show he has done yet.
“This is the most challenging, complicated piece I’ve ever done,” he said.
He enjoys the challenge.
“There’s the complicated harmonies and the point and counterpoint for the male and female voices,” he said. “Being able to find my part in all that.”
Sampson, who was cut from glee club as an eighth grader and who didn’t take music back up until he was in his 30s, finds the story “poignant” and “interesting,” he said.
“It talks about the working people,” he said. “These are the folks just like you and me.”
The show takes place in Chicago, so it has more of a big city feel than a rural one, but Sampson believes it will appeal anyone who has ever done a hard day’s labor.
“It touches everybody that works,” he said.
Personally, taking part in the show has allowed her the chance to meet people, practice her music and give back to the community, Palmer said.
The show will take place Sept. 5,6, and 7 at 7:30 p.m. with a matinee show at 2 p.m. Sept. 8. The show takes place at the C.L. Hoover Opera House.
Tickets can be purchased by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling the box office at 785-238-3906.