Painting by CHARLES BANKS WILSON. Usage courtesy of the artist and the Oklahoma State Senate Historical Preservation Fund, Inc.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame calls Woody Guthrie “the original folk hero; a man who, in the Thirties and Forties, transformed the folk ballad into a vehicle for social protest and observation and in so doing, paved the way for Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and a host of other folk and rock songwriters who have been moved by conscience to share experiences and voice opinions in a forthright manner. Fueled by a boundless curiosity about the world, the colorful life he led became as legendary as the songs he wrote.”
WOODY SEZ is a joyous, toe-tapping, and moving theatrical concert event that uses Woody’s words, and over twenty-five of Woody’s songs to transport the audience through the fascinating, beautiful, and sometimes tragic life of Woody Guthrie. Performed by a talented group of four versatile actor/musicians who not only play 15 instruments ranging from guitar and fiddle to jaw harp and dulcimer, but they also bring to life the many people who are the fabric of Woody Guthrie’s amazing story. The combination of the cast’s infectious enjoyment, Woody’s incredible journey, and a stirring mix of moving ballads and energetic foot-stompers make this a must see. Woody Guthrie gave voice to the beauty and struggles of the common man and WOODY SEZ gives the same to the spirit of the man himself.
Andy Christopher * (Woody Guthrie US/Cast) NATIONAL TOUR: Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story (Buddy Holly – 25th Anniversary Tour). REGIONAL: Jersey Boys (Bob Gaudio – Ogunquity Playhouse), Once (Andrej – Pittsburgh CLO), Buddy… (Buddy Holly – The Muny, Pittsburgh CLO, Fulton Theatre, Bucks County Playhouse, Maine State Music Theatre, and many others), Hank Williams: Lost Highway (Hank Williams – Flat Rock Playhouse, West Virginia Public Theater), This Land Is Your Land (Woody Guthrie – TheaterWorks Hartford), Rock & Roll Man (Swing – Bucks County Playhouse), Godspell (Jesus – Garza Theatre), Disney Cruise Line. CONCERT: Muny Magic at the Sheldon, TheatreSquared, The Baby Show(er). TV: Bands. Many thanks to DGRW. Endless love to Esther & Haven. Insta @mrandychristopher. Ps100.2
Darcie Deaville (Cast) Born to a journalist/pilot mother and a bush helicopter pilot father, Darcie Deaville spent her formative years moving every few months, from the Yukon to the Yucatan, learning how vastly different people and cultures can be. She struck out on her own at 16, playing guitar & singing on the streets of Toronto. Since then she’s played in remote villages and large cities throughout Canada, the US, the UK, Europe, Central America, China, and the Middle East. Darcie’s fiery fiddling became a fixture in Austin TX, where she put down roots for 25 years. One of just a few women to be a side person and session player, she’s on over 200 recordings and performed in a wide range of musical styles with acts including Tom Paxton, Ani di Franco, John McEuen, Killer Pussy, and the Austin Lounge Lizards.* As a singer and songwriter, Darcie has recorded five CDs of her own. Theatre credits include: originating role in Woody Sez, Woody Guthrie’s American Song, Oil City Symphony, Cottonpatch Gospel, Always, Patsy Cline, and her original one woman musical Tornado in Slo Mo. *Darcie has fond memories of playing at the Great Connecticut Jazz Fest a number of times (way back in the 1980’s 🙂 with Igor’s Jazz Cowboys.
David Finch* (Cast) born and bred in the ‘Nutmeg State’ Finch grew up in Danbury. He has played beside artists as diverse as Alan Cumming, Serj Tankian, Tony Bennett, Amanda Palmer, Kylie Minogue and Dee Snider. Broadway: Cabaret. West End: Woody Sez. Besides (21) productions of Woody Sez; he played chromatic harmonica as the Mock Turtle with the BBC Symphony Orchestra in the opera Alice In Wonderland at the Barbican Concert Hall – reprising his role from the L.A. Philharmonic’s production at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. He performed on the PBS special Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs. National/Int.Tours: Cabaret, Fame the Musical. Off-Broadway: Allegro, Fame on 42nd Street, Spring Storm. Regional: Indian Joe (Goodspeed), Prometheus Bound (A.R.T), Hank Williams’ Lost Highway (Stages Rep), Grapes of Wrath (Capital Rep), 1940s Radio Hour (Riverside), Fiddler on the Roof (Sacramento Music Circus), Buddy (MGR Playhouse). Finch is proud to have been an Associate Producer at BCEFA from 2004–2006.
Maggie Hollinbeck* (Cast) is thrilled to make her Ivoryton Playhouse debut and to be back on stage with some old — and new — friends! National Tour: Once (Baruška standby); Annie (Connie Boylan). Off-Broadway: Red Roses, Green Gold (Miss Glendine). Other favorite credits include: Once (Baruška, Pittsburgh CLO); The People vs. Mona (Mavis Frye, Pasadena Playhouse); Richard III (Queen Elizabeth, Bridge Production Group); Finian’s Rainbow (Lavinia & Sharon u/s, Goodspeed Opera House). Maggie is also a recording artist and this year she and composer Graham Sobelman released three albums, Jane Kenyon Sessions: Volume One, Two, and Three. On Instagram @maggiehollinbeck and @zerowastebetty
David Lutken* (Director/Woody Guthrie) BROADWAY: Inherit the Wind; Ring of Fire; The Civil War; The Will Rogers Follies. OFF-BROADWAY: Woody Sez (Outer Critics’ Circle, Off-Broadway Alliance & Drama League Best Musical nominations), Southern Comfort; Stars in Your Eyes; Winter Man; Woody Guthrie’s American Song; The Portable Pioneer and Prairie Show. N.Y. CITY OPERA: Paul Bunyan. LONDON: Woody Sez (Evening Standard Best Musical nomination); Dark of the Moon; Bonnie and Clyde; A Month in the Country. REGIONAL: USA: Man of La Mancha; Big River; Elmer Gantry; Finian’s Rainbow; Back Home Again; Fire on the Mountain; Lost Highway; Buddy; Pump Boys and Dinettes; Woody Guthrie’s American Song; Stand By Your Man; The Love List; The Man Who Came to Dinner; On Golden Pond, and others. Originally from Dallas, Texas, David graduated from Duke University with a Bachelor of Arts in Classics. He completed his Acting Degree at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Arts in London.
Devised by David M. Lutken
Darcie Deaville, Helen Jean Russell and Andy Teirstein
Director: Nick Corley
Associate Director: Sherry Lutken
Musical Director: David M. Lutken
Stage Manager: James Joseph Clark*
Scenic Designer: Luke Cantarella
Costume Designer: Jeffrey Meek
* member of Actors Equity
The following excerpt of biographical material was borrowed from
and can be found in its entirity at www.woodyguthrie.org.
Photograph by Robin Carson
WOODY GUTHRIE was born on July 14, 1912, in Okemah, Oklahoma. He was the second-born son of Charles and Nora Belle Guthrie. His father – a cowboy, land speculator, and local politician – taught Woody Western songs, Indian songs, and Scottish folk tunes. His Kansas-born mother, also musically inclined, had an equally profound effect on Woody.
Slightly built, with an extremely full and curly head of hair, Woody was a precocious and unconventional boy from the start. Always a keen observer of the world around him, the people, music and landscape he was exposed to made lasting impressions on him.
During his early years in Oklahoma, Woody experienced the first of a series of immensely tragic personal losses. With the accidental death of his older sister Clara, the family’s financial ruin, and the institutionalization and eventual loss of his mother, Woody’s family and home life was forever devastated.
In 1920, oil was discovered nearby and overnight Okemah was transformed into an “oil boom” town, bringing thousands of workers, gamblers and hustlers to the once sleepy farm town. Within a few years, the oil flow suddenly stopped and Okemah suffered a severe economic turnaround, leaving the town and its inhabitants “busted, disgusted, and not to be trusted.”
From his experiences in Okemah, Woody’s uniquely wry outlook on life, as well as his abiding interest in rambling around the country, was formed. And so, he took to the open road.
In 1931, when Okemah’s boomtown period went bust, Woody left for Texas. In the panhandle town of Pampa, he fell in love with Mary Jennings, the younger sister of a friend and musician named Matt Jennings. Woody and Mary were married in 1933, and together had three children, Gwen, Sue and Bill.
It was with Matt Jennings and Cluster Baker that Woody made his first attempt at a musical career, forming The Corn Cob Trio and later the Pampa Junior Chamber of Commerce Band. It was also in Pampa that Woody first discovered a love and talent for drawing and painting, an interest he would pursue throughout his life.
If the Great Depression made it hard for Woody to support his family, the onslaught of the Great Dust Storm period, which hit the Great Plains in 1935, made it impossible. Drought and dust forced thousands of desperate farmers and unemployed workers from Oklahoma, Kansas, Tennessee, and Georgia to head west in search of work. Woody, like hundreds of “dustbowl refugees,” hit Route 66, also looking for a way to support his family, who remained back in Pampa.
Moneyless and hungry, Woody hitchhiked, rode freight trains, and even walked his way to California, taking whatever small jobs he could. In exchange for bed and board, Woody painted signs and played guitar and sang in saloons along the way, developing a love for traveling the open road—a lifelong habit he would often repeat. . . . . click here to go to Woody Guthrie Publications and continue the story.
Painting by CHARLES BANKS WILSON. Usage courtesy of the artist and the Oklahoma State Senate Historical Preservation Fund, Inc.
Join us for an opening night reception following the 8:00pm performance on Friday, October 25th. Light refreshments will be served.
Check back here for press releases, photos and video clips!
WOODY SEZ: The Life and Music of Woody Guthrie
at the Ivoryton Playhouse
WOODY SEZ: THE LIFE AND MUSIC OF WOODY GUTHRIE, the internationally acclaimed West End and Broadway hit, opens at the Ivoryton Playhouse on Wednesday, October 23rd. The tumultuous, touching, tragic and joyful tale of “America’s greatest folk poet” told in his own words and featuring Bound for Glory, Pastures of Plenty, The Ballad of Tom Joad, This Land is Your Land, and two dozen more of Woody Guthrie’s indelible protest songs, is brought to vivid life with an award winning cast including creator David Lutken* as Woody, with Darcie Deaville, David Finch*, Maggie Hollinbeck* and Andy Christopher*.
This show is a celebration of one of the giants of American music. A joyful, uplifting narrative about a difficult man’s difficult life during difficult times, WOODY SEZ is a tale of struggle, activism, patriotism, and commitment. Guthrie’s songs have become ambassadors of the best of the American spirit.
Introduced at the Edinburgh Festival in 2007, WOODY SEZ has played in over 50 cities in the US, the UK, the Middle East and across Europe.
Lyn Gardner, theatre critic for The Guardian, wrote of the London performance – “This low-key, high-spirited celebration of Guthrie’s life and music knocks big West End biopics into a heap of dust” Peter Marks of the Washington Post wrote, “ The musicianship is first class; the cast effortlessly adapts to the rousing spirit of the songwriter’s heartland balladeering and protest music. It’s pleasant to be reminded that, once upon a time in America, raising one’s voice in dissent could make for some beautiful music.”
This production is directed by Nick Corley with Sherry Lutken, musical directed by David Lutken, set design by Luke Cantarella, costumes by Jeffrey Meeks, lighting by Marcus Abbott and sound design by Ray Smith and Tate Burmeister.
The performance, in the folk tradition is unamplified and authentic. (The show and the musical arrangements incorporate over 20 acoustic instruments). Hootenannies will follow Sunday matinees – check our website for more details.
WOODY SEZ opens at the Ivoryton Playhouse on October 23rd and runs through November 10th. Performance times are Wednesday and Sunday matinees at 2pm. Evening performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30pm, Friday and Saturday at 8pm. There will be one Thursday matinee on October 24th.
Tickets are $55 adult / $50 senior / $25 student / $20 children 12 and are available by calling the Playhouse box office at 860-767-7318 or by visiting our website at www.ivorytonplayhouse.org (Group rates and subscriptions are available by calling the box office for information.) The Playhouse is located at 103 Main Street in Ivoryton.
*denotes member of Actors Equity
Looking for something to do? Ivoryton Playhouse has been voted best place to see live theatre by readers of The Shoreline Times for three years in a row. Come to Essex and visit our historic, professional theatre – a Connecticut treasure!