Theatre Review: ’Woody Sez: The Life & Music of Woody Guthrie’ at Theater J

David Finch, David M. Lutken, Helen Jean Russell, and Darcie Deaville. Photo by Wendy Murtz.

I decided to write this review in ink. When the pen I was using ran out of ink, I switched to pencil. No, seriously—no computer for this one. Even an Underwood typewriter would be too high-brow for a Woody Guthrie review.

In a season packed with nostalgia—from Molly Ivins to Janis Joplin—we are yearning for that person who will cut through all the nonsensical bull-crap and get to the heart of the matter. Well, if Ivins fit into contemporary Washington like a proverbial poke in the eye, and if Joplin though brassy seemed too few sheets to the wind to be real, then Guthrie, that man of the working class, that communist, could not have seemed more out of place than when he stood on a stage but one or two blocks from the White House.

But oh what a joy this Guthrie and company are!

Theatre J’s presentation of Woody Sez: The Life & Music of Woody Guthrie (a production of the Arthur Tracy ‘The Street Singer’ Foundation) filled its audience with strong memories, with rollicking good vibes, with more than one tear-filled catharsis, and finally with the oddest punctuation mark on a post-election period one could ever have imagined.

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About Michael

Michael Oliver has been working in the fields of theatre and education for well over thirty years at not only the secondary and university levels, but professionally, as the co-founder of The Sanctuary Theatre, Inc. Established in 1983, the theatre became well-known throughout the Washington area for its cutting-edge productions. He is now the Director of Sanctuary's The Performing Knowledge Project: where performance and education meet.
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