The Life & Music of Woody Guthrie
By David M. Lutken with Nick Corley
Directed by Nick Corley
"There is nothing sweet about Woody, and there is nothing sweet about the songs he sings. But there is something more important for those who will listen.”
In January 2009 at the inauguration of Barack Obama, Pete Seeger joyfully led a crowd of hundreds of thousands in singing “This Land Is Your Land”. The spirit of that song’s writer, American Folk legend Woody Guthrie is celebrated in the new musical, Woody Sez which blasts onto the stage of the Arts Theatre this January. Guthrie’s music lives on and continues to inspire. The hundreds of musicians who acknowledge their debt to the man who performed with the slogan “This machine kills fascists” emblazoned on his guitar include the mighty Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Johnny Cash and our own Billy Bragg.
Weaving together Guthrie’s enduring words and songs, Woody Sez paints a powerful portrait of this revered cult figure’s fascinating and often tragic life. Considered the Godfather of American folk music, Guthrie was an altogether original protest singer, fighting for and lifting up the spirits of people beaten down by the hardships of The Great Depression.
Playing the lead role, British trained Broadway veteran David Lutken is joined by singer/songwriter and fiery fiddler Darcie Deaville, multi-instrumentalist Helen Russell and Andy Teirstein, himself a classical composer (and former circus performer!). Directed by Nick Corley, also a Broadway regular who collaborated with Lutken on the book, the musical was first brought to life in 2007 at the Edinburgh Fringe. Since that time, with Mary Cossette Productions, the show has grown through festival productions in Belfast, Brighton (Argus Angel Award), Recklinghausen's Ruhrfestspiele, and back in the US in Woody's home state of Oklahoma, where it was voted "Musical of the Year" (2009).
Woody Sez is a story of survival, passionate belief, timeless music, and the flawed and fated trail of a singular and determined American poet.