Closed 2h 5m
Woody Sez: The Life & Music of Woody Guthrie
Chelsea
85

Woody Sez: The Life & Music of Woody Guthrie NYC Reviews and Tickets

85%
(105 Reviews)
Positive
94%
Mixed
4%
Negative
2%
Members say
Entertaining, Great singing, Delightful, Relevant, Absorbing

About the Show

Irish Repertory Theatre presents a toe-tapping musical exploration of the fascinating, beautiful, and sometimes tragic life of American folk legend Woody Guthrie.

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Member Reviews (105)

85
Riveting, Intense, Intelligent, Great singing, Great musicianship

See it if you want a glorious 2 hrs of music/ words. WS is loaded w talent, esply the charismatic "Woody." WS'll delight your ears and open your heart

Don't see it if you need a narrative arc. WS is a concert, with a bit of biography. WG lived the life he sang about, so the songs are woven in seamlessly. Read more

67
Entertaining, Disappointing, Relevant, Fluffy, Disjointed

See it if You're a fan of Woody Guthrie or want to learn more about his life.

Don't see it if You expect a show that draws any parallels between his music and his life or history. They might have but sound was BAD-couldn't hear A LOT!

Critic Reviews (24)

June 15th, 2017

"This is a show that favors breadth over biographical detail, and there’s a lot to cover, especially when you consider the snippets of more than 40 songs in about two hours. But the exhilarating 'Woody Sez,' a fine balm for a summer’s night, moves at a brisk and polished pace...Mr. Lutken’s Guthrie avoids aw-shucks sentimentality; Mr. Teirstein demonstrates remarkable instrumental versatility; and the sparkling Ms. Loomis mugs winningly as she takes a fiddle solo."
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June 8th, 2017

"Like the songs themselves, everything about the show has the ring of truth. The performers look and sound as though they’ve stepped off a farm in Guthrie’s native Oklahoma...Playing guitar, fiddle, banjo, dulcimer, harmonica and other instruments, the performers plumb the inner depths of a man whose Okie roots—scarred by poverty, mental illness and domestic tragedies—filled him with empathy for the downtrodden."
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June 9th, 2017

"An inspired choice for this fraught political moment...'Woody Sez' is a poignant, frequently stirring account of a life spent fighting the good fight...Lutken, a first-rate musician and singer, puts over the numbers with brio, and he is aided by an equally gifted company...Corley's direction ensures that the songs and narrative are woven together with the seamlessness and homespun purity of an authentic country quilt."
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July 14th, 2017

"Four wonderful performers vibrantly sing and act out the singer-songwriter’s classic, political songs...Lutken magnificently captures the essence of Guthrie with his wry twang, beaming smile, and dramatic presence...The script is an accomplished distillation of historical details that seamlessly blend with the songs into an engaging, informative, and highly entertaining presentation...A living monument to the enduring greatness of Woody Guthrie’s songs and a reminder of his courageous life."
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June 8th, 2017

"Lutken devised a tribute to folk music's legendary poet of the people into something that transcends the biographical concert genre...Lutken's collaboration with director Nick Corley makes for an extraordinarily entertaining and informative two hours. It's a concept that calls for a cast of just four, though all must be super gifted and extremely versatile...To describe Lutken's triple-threat singing, playing and acting as excellent is an understatement. He is a wonder!"
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June 8th, 2017

"The show is two hours of pure string-plucking, chord-strumming, foot-stomping, storytelling delight...It also helps that he has a cast of energetic and highly proficient folk musicians telling his story. Lutken plays Guthrie with a mix of passion, humor, and exuberance that makes for a deeply compelling and moving portrait of the man...I think today's young people will find in Guthrie a fitting champion. And 'Woody Sez' is the perfect introduction."
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June 23rd, 2017

"The evening is kept at a good steady pace by the competent direction of Nick Corley...Perhaps, at certain times during this production, the power of the song is diminished by the informative introduction but for the most part it serves this production...The overly skilled cast travels through the evening exercising their wide range of vocal ability while playing an incredible array of different instruments...Go spend a couple of enjoyable hours listening to the music of a protesting pioneer."
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June 8th, 2017

“If you're not sure who Woody Guthrie was and what he accomplished and stood for, I suggest you hop an MTA boxcar over to the Irish Rep…where 'Woody Sez,' an excellent jukebox bio-musical about his life, is being enacted by a delightful quartet of multitalented singer-musicians. I have no idea of what the Irish connection is…but it will take only a few minutes before you stop wondering about it and give yourself over to the joys of top-notch musicianship and homespun biographical storytelling.”
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June 8th, 2017

“As American as apple pie…This is a tribute to Woody Guthrie…‘Woody Sez” features four mega-talented musicians and singers. Megan Loomis, Helen Jean Russell and Andy Teirstein support Mr. Lutken who embodies Woody. The arrangements by the cast are spectacular…Mr. Guthrie’s songs have a spiritual side to them that encompasses loving your brothers and your sisters no matter who they are, as well as a social consciousness with political expression.”
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June 8th, 2017

“The legendary songwriter’s story is told with, of course, the expected folk songs delivered in rousing arrangements…Yes, ‘Woody Sez’ is corny, but who sez corn can’t be fun? And the fun stops from time to time when the downs of Guthrie’s up-and-down life are recounted. Also, it’s difficult not to think about the timelessness of the Guthrie songbook.”
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June 15th, 2017

"Seeing the wonderful musical tribute to Guthrie is not only an entertaining and emotional trip down memory lane but a reminder of what Americans must currently fight for in a time when workers and liberal principles are under assault...It is Lutken who charms on stage by leading us through Guthrie’s life and comments, as well as playing guitar as he takes us on the musical journey...This is a production not to be missed for those who enjoy or especially treasure folk music."
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June 10th, 2017

"An entertaining and poignant evening of music and storytelling...With a minimalist set and adaptive, flexible staging, the ensemble brings together their sterling musical skills...Guthrie’s words will continue to reverberate in our hearts and minds. The injunctions in his songs are a welcome anodyne to get us through the next day or over a rough patch to eventually take the stand necessary in our own lives and for our culture and nation."
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June 10th, 2017

"A cast of four thoroughly authentic folk performers combine the major events in Guthrie’s life with the music he created at each stage of his career in a wonderfully entertaining and frequently moving tribute...Together, these four performers create the sense of a get-together remembering our old friend, Woody Guthrie. And it is the genius of that old friend that makes this get-together so entertaining and enlightening."
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August 30th, 2017

“One of the best shows of the year…If ‘Woody Sez’ were just four talented musicians playing Woody Guthrie songs, with a little intro, it would be great. But it’s so much more than that. It’s a theatrical collage of music and time…It’s quite a feat: the cast are amazing musicians, and wonderful actors who give heart-rending performances…Yes, it’s a bio play, but not only of Guthrie, but of America…It’s never been more needed than now.”
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August 3rd, 2017

"As genial as a hootenanny, yet creator Lutken and his collaborators never water down Guthrie’s politics or get sentimental...Nor do Lutken and company strain to emphasize contemporary resonances...Director Corley and the cast certainly make Guthrie’s standpoint look and sound appealing...But the script remains too cursory to convey much of the man’s psychological landscape...Thanks to the music, however, the social fabric comes across in all its exhilarating, exasperating fullness."
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August 22nd, 2014

“A haunting, powerful show…This tribute includes enough humor and understatement to keep its hero recognizably human…A theatrical patchwork quilt — scraps of biography and social history sewn together with bits of music and drama by four remarkably multitalented performers. And like the finest of cloth quilts, this one transcends its homespun materials to become a work of art…There’s nothing routine about ‘Woody Sez’…A unified theatrical experience."
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November 13th, 2012

“An amiable 90 minutes of melodies…The musicianship is first-class…The cast effortlessly adapts to the rousing spirit of the songwriter’s heartland balladeering and protest music…As presented here, though, Guthrie’s music is more seductive than antagonistic, often managing to express with dry-eyed humor the bitter experiences of the poor…The topical similarities of some of the songs do provoke a few yawns, but ‘Woody Sez’ says good night well before its welcome is worn out.”
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January 24th, 2011

“I defy anyone to go and see ‘Woody Sez’ and not come away feeling that this modest yet delectable offering is a pretty snug fit for these cash-strapped, anxious times…If the evening valuably helps puts today’s travails in historical perspective, what comes across equally forcefully is how the songs transcend the time of their writing…The performers sing with lusty conviction and they handle their instruments with impeccable finesse. They spread warmth out across the auditorium.”
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May 10th, 2012

“Four talented, versatile musicians provide a low-key musical commentary-biography…The four musician-singer-performers happily breeze along with the breeze and melodies, having a great time on stage…Multi-talented, lanky David Lutken as Guthrie is refreshingly sincere, singing and strumming Guthrie’s tunes with gusto…Guthrie’s songs ring out today as loudly as they did when he wrote them.”
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September 24th, 2012

“David M. Lutken plays Woody with communal charisma...Lutken, as sympathetic in his down-home decency and grass-roots purity as his inspiration, colors all the warm notes in Woody’s haunting call to arms, ‘Why Do You Stand There in the Rain?’ It’s an odyssey of a hootenanny, as unflinchingly sincere as Garrison Keillor in front of a mike or Woody’s pals Pete Seeger and Leadbelly singing up a storm just by ‘always going on.’”
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April 12th, 2014

“An eminently likable concert biography...The emphasis is clearly on the music, at which the supporting cast is admirably adept, though Lutken, as the featured player, brings more theatrical skill and empathy to his role...Although there’s nothing particularly surprising in the format of 'Woody Sez,' and often the paean to Guthrie borders on hero worship...the sympathetic production provides a toe-tapping, foot-stomping, crowd-pleasing hootenanny of a tribute to an American icon."
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December 4th, 2013

“A show so good that it makes my job easy…Brimming with toe-tapping music, rich emotion, and powerful messages…Lutken brings Guthrie’s complex prairie philosopher persona to life with practiced confidence and genuine love for his subject…On the whole, it’s a triumphant piece of theater that simultaneously delivers larger than life commentary and moving personal drama in the tale of an American legend.”
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May 15th, 2012

“Thoroughly enjoyable and effectively assembled...All four members of the cast are expansively competent, both vocally and instrumentally…Lutken and his crew bring home to us today just how valuable Guthrie and his music are to understanding the complexity of America’s past…Those who are close to young children owe it to them to take them to this production, if only as a way to help them better understand the history of the country they will inherit.”
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January 24th, 2011

“Wholesome and homespun…With laid-back passion and gentle amusement, David M Lutken takes on the role of Guthrie…Much like Guthrie and his music, the production is low-key and easy going. Whilst often amusing, it’s never hilarious, though often toe-tapping and uplifting, it never blasts you with a wall of euphoria. Though it would probably be better in a smaller space, the cast create an intimate, welcoming and inviting atmosphere.”
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