Behind the Scenes: Working the Musical


Jessica Severns

Senior, Bryant Kessie, rehearsing as the crew constructs the set.

Rin Gatley, The Delphi Staff

This year’s musical, directed by Jessica Severns, is called Working, based on the book by Studs Turkel.

Turkel was a radio broadcaster who compiled interviews of citizens from Allentown, Pennsylvania in the 1970s. Each song and monologue is based on a different worker, from ironworkers to waitresses, featured in the book.

Severns cites that this year’s musical is more “grounded” than previous years, as this musical is based in reality, whereas many others have magical elements. Severns and her fellow directors are “phenomenally proud” of the musical process and the determination showed by each cast member.

Due to Covid-19, Severns had to adjust many variables to make sure that everything was safe for the directors, actors, crew members, singers, and dancers. She coordinated with Heather Fleischman, the head of dance, and Daniel Wells, the head of singing, to make sure that the entire process would be as safe as possible. Physical contact had to be cut entirely, which also means that there are no romantic facets of this musical. Masks are required to be worn at all times, and six feet of social distancing had to remain as often as possible.  

Another big change is that the show also had to be filmed and will not be performed for a live audience. One positive to this odd performance is that the filming process adds a whole new dimension to viewing theatre, as there are many different angles audiences will be able to see the performance from.

Filming also provides a way to present the best possible product to the audience, as the numbers can be recorded as many times as necessary and mistakes can be cut out. Soloists were also allowed to record their songs or lines individually, so they can be clear and everyone will be heard.  

To stream this musical, there will be a link to the Del Val website that will take you to showtix4u, a website where people can buy a link to stream the show for twenty-four hours. The link will be fifteen dollars and you can send it to anyone who wants to watch within those 24 hours.  For those of you who are interested, be on the lookout for the link on April 23rd!