The Chappell Players are putting in ‘work’


Bria Alston

The Chappell Players will perform the musical “Working” until Oct. 19.

On Friday, Oct. 11, The Chappell Players Theater Group performed its latest musical, “Working,” in the Little Theatre of St. John’s for a crowd of approximately 56 people.

The group hopes “Working” will not only entertain the members of the audience with an ensemble cast, but will also provide insights into the lives of everyday working people.

The Chappell Players Theater Group, originally known as the Dramatic Society when first constituted in the 1930s, has in recent years performed plays such as “Alice in Wonderland” and “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” but Kurt Cruz, president of The Chappell Players, notes that “Working” seems somehow different from those previous performances.

The night before the show’s debut, The Torch spoke with Cruz and cast.

“This play has more serious undertones, unlike some of the plays we’ve done in the past that might have been more lighthearted in nature,” Cruz said. “It is also different because unlike our previous works, this play has no real central plot.”

Cruz said this show has more serious monologues. The show is a more mature body of work.

“And it gives the everyman in the audience something that they might be able to relate to,” Cruz said.

According to director Jeremy Kronenberg, a major theme of this year’s performance is how the audience can relate to the characters on stage.

“I think anyone who comes to see the show will see glimmers and glimpses of themselves on stage,” he said.

The production’s selling point is its portrayal of relatable individual characters that are made all the more interesting because they are not merely figments of Studs Turkel’s, the author of the publication on which the musical is based, imagination. Rather, as Aaron Gallagher, who plays Mike Dillard and Joe Zutti, points out, “These are actual people so you want to make sure that you show them respect by portraying them honestly.”

One of the people portrayed is Rose Hoffman, a soon-to-be retired third grade teacher, played in this production by The Chappell Players Vice President Sara Donnes.

“That our main point here is to portray authentic people; these are actual interviews that portray actual people, not just stereotypes or caricatures of what they really are,” Donnes said.

An ambitious task, but one that The Chappell Players Theater Group succeeded in, according to Anissa Wright, a St. John’s student from Atlanta, Ga.

Wright said that the play “really described society and people working today in the real world and I actually liked it a lot.”

Those interested have the opportunity to look through this window into the lives of members of the working class at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 17, Friday, Oct. 18, and before the curtain closes for the final time on Saturday, Oct. 19.