Friday November 24th 2017

“Working” an actor speaks about the play and his job!

One of the highlights of this theater season is the re-birth of “Working” the musical version of the inspirational work by Studs Terkel now playing at the Broadway in Chicago Playhouse at Water Tower Place. This is a wonderful show with an all-star cast and today I had the pleasure of speaking with Juan Gabriel Ruiz, who now uses the name Gabriel Ruiz. This is one of our bright new talents, a junior ensemble member of our esteemed Teatro Vista troupe, who has graced many a stage in Chicago since graduating from The Theater School of DePaul University. In all his roles, however, he was never asked to sing, so when he was called in for “Working” he was a little apprehensive. It turns out, since this is a musical that demands more acting than singing, they were seeking an actor who could sing and based on what I saw on opening night, they picked the right man.

“Working” is a classical piece that has been restructured to bring it into today’s stories, but the meaning of what Terkel was trying to express did not change. He interviewed a great number of people who did a great number of jobs, many of which were blue collar jobs that to most are unimportant, very ordinary, just a —– type of jobs. What this play does and what the actors want to accomplish is to make those in the audience feel that what they do and who they are is important. Ruiz, working with some of the old pros of our Chicago scene has learned a lot about his craft, and about people. The cast members are delighted as they leave the theater to have audience members greet them with positive responses about the show itself and getting a better feeling from it. That is what the actors are hoping for and as Gabriel told me, they get a sort of “rush” from the audience responses during the show ( the thunderous appplause) and after. He himself, when riding the bus home, as he exits, thanks the driver. This s something that comes from being in a show like this. Bus Drivers are important! Waitresses are important! Evey job has some bearing on those who come nto contact with them. Just think about a car and perhaps a missing part because of a worker who didn’t take pride in what thye do and create- this could be costly to the person who buys that car, so shouldn’t every worker be proud of what they do and try to exceed the expectations of those who depend and rely on them?

The powerful show with this powerful cast wants these shining thoughts as told by the actual workers interviewed to come through to each and every audience member. They work hard at doing their jobs- four weeks of heavy rehearsals developing the feel of the person who told their story, making the story be realistic and allowing the audience members to feel what they felt. Ruiz, who had some great formal training and who has done lots of plays in the past, truly finds being a part  of “Working” to be a chance to help people who feel that all they have is a job, know that they are somebody! This is a show with a lot of heart and soul and thanks to the great response by Chicago audiences is now going into “overtime” ( extended until June 5th) to allow this cast more opportunities to spread the warmth and good feeling of this glorious production.

In order to see the “perfect musical for everyone who has ever worked ” all you need do is visit the theater box office located at 175 East Chestnut, or any of the Broadway In Chicago box offices, call the Broadway In Chicago Ticketline at  800-775-2000, visit any Ticketmaster outlet or online

Performances are Tuesday,Wednesday,Thursday evenings at 7:30 p.m.,Friday and Saturday evenings at 8 p.m. Wednesday,Saturday and Sunday afternoons at 2 p.m.

to learn more, visit

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