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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

(OUTview NW) RE-view: 'Woody Sez' bring Song and Protest to the Seattle Rep!

(Michael Doucett)
by MK Scott

You may have never heard of singer and songwriter, Woody Guthrie, but certainly have heard his songs that became folk anthems. Does "This Land is your Land" ring a bell?

In a concert style musical, Woody Sez, currently at the Seattle Repertory Theater, showcases parts of Guthrie's life through music.

In the backdrop of the dusty plains, during the great depression of the 1930's, Guthrie uses songs to protest like many of contemporaries from Dylan to Springsteen, and becomes a folk hero and pioneer.

We learn Woody (David Lutken) was an impassioned union organizer and crusader for the American underclass, and packed a remarkable amount of ramblin’ and expressing during his short lifetime.

(Michael Doucett)

Woody authored and recorded hundreds of songs (including the alternative national anthem “This Land” and Washington’s own unofficial anthem “Roll On, Columbia”). You are reminded of John Steinbeck's the Grapes of Wrath with "Tom Joad’s Blues”

Drawing from letters, essays, newspaper columns, the semi-fictionalized autobiography “Bound for Glory” and other writings, Woody Sez takes a two-hour, ambling freight train ride through Guthrie’s tragedy-scarred childhood, his hobo travels and World War II stint with the Merchant Marine, ending up in his final years as a rediscovered folk hero in Brooklyn with his family until his death from Huntington’s disease.

The show reminded me of the Johnny Cash's Bio-musical, Ring of Fire, a show that, co-creator,  Lutken has listed in his bio.So I assume he was influenced by that.

What makes Woody Sez different is that you believe their characters and the remaining cast of David Finch, Darcie Deaville and Helen Jean Russell all play several instruments, dance and harmonize like they were truly a music group.

With the current time of high protest and self-expression, this show has arrived at the right place at the right time.

Woody Sez’  continues through Jan. 29,at  Seattle Repertory Theatre, Click HERE for Tix.

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