I wish Studs Terkel had met the three teachers who have breathed life into the musicals at Hendrick Hudson High School for the past seven years.
They might have made it into a loving tribute in the musical “Working,” which translated his interviews with regular folks into a stage show, later adapted by Lin-Manuel Miranda, a Tony-winner for “In the Heights.”
“Working” plays at Hen Hud this weekend.
The teacher Terkel put in “Working” is Rose Hoffman, and she’s not particularly nice.
I wish Terkel had met the Hen Hud trio known as Schnorrealeenler.
Long ago, Hen Hud students morphed the names of co-directors Suzanne Schneider, Paula Correale and musical director Erica Denler into “Schnorrealeenler.” And rightly so, because they work as a team: a three-headed musical-making machine.
When I arrived at a recent rehearsal, Erica wasn’t there, but the “Schnorreale” two-thirds was represented. (That’s Suzanne on the left, and Paula, in the photo above.) And they had news: This was their last year. After 32 years teaching English, and seven with the musical, Schneider is retiring and will break up that old gang I loved to visit.
And Correale will take that as a cue, too, leaving Denler to carry on.
The great thing about a visit to a Hen Hud rehearsal is the buzz. These ladies must answer 75 questions from kids so excited they can’t be still. As with any musical, before a rehearsal, there are questions about costumes and mics and set changes and lights and makeup and is this the way to wear this scarf and is this where I stand when I sing this song.
Questions need answers and for the past seven years, Schnorrealeenler has been the answering machine.
Each has her strength: While their responsibilities overlap a good deal, as I’ve seen it, Denler is the steady one with the music, giving the kids voice; Correale makes sure the set is right, giving them a stage; Schneider helps them with character, giving them a spark.
With a stage, a voice and a spark, a kid can be anything he or she wants to be.
Happy to have visited Schnorrealeenler through the years; sad to see the team break up; wishing them — and the cast of “Working” — broken legs.
(By the way, those little ones in the housewife song? Correale’s grandkids.)
“Working,” 8 p.m., March 28 and 29; 3 p.m., March 30. $15, $10 students and seniors; showtix4u.com; 914-257-5812.
Here’s the Running Lines video I shot at Hen Hud. Enjoy!