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Woody Sez: The Life & Music of Woody Guthrie

From 105 member  reviews
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. More…

Performing classics such as 'This Land Is Your Land' and 'So Long, It’s Been Good to Know Yuh,' four actor/musicians bring to life the many people who formed the fabric of Guthrie's story. Not only was he a seminal influence on Bob Dylan and Joan Baez, he also inspired generations of Irish folk singers like the Clancy Brothers and Christy Moore. His songs may have told the stories of the disenfranchised in the Dust Bowl, but his recurrent themes speak of famine, workers’ rights, and emigrant strife. His legacy defined an American era of social consciousness and political expression that is alive and palpable today.

Member Reviews (105)


Entertaining, Great singing, Delightful, Relevant, Absorbing
Avg Score

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.

Also You will be thrilled by the musicianship. All four actors play multipl... Read more Read less

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!

Enchanting, Relevant, Great music, Inspiring, Heartbreaking

See it if Emotional bio with great music. I fell in love with Woody... his causes, his fellowship, and his tragedies. This show has a lot of heart.

Don't see it if You don't like bios, or don't like folk music about the plight of the impoverished, much of it during the Great Depression.

Disappointing, Entertaining, Great singing, Relevant, Slow

See it if Powerful musical tribute to folk/activist Woody Guthrie. Lutken's majestic portrayal of Guthrie captures both vocal & physical attributes

Don't see it if Too many songs cheat us out of a more telling book; rather surface depict of Guthrie but potent reminder that the "good fight" never ends

Delightful, Enchanting, Entertaining, Relevant

See it if cast of four present a delightful tale (with songs) about the life of Woody Guthrie. About 16-20 instruments used by the four talents.

Don't see it if if you do not like folk music.

Absorbing, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if you are a fan of Woody Guthrie. Showcases his life and many of his songs. Cast of 4 singers/musicians tell his tale.See America thru him.

Don't see it if you do not like folk music or music that is critical of capitalism and the rich.

Ambitious, Delightful, The most exhilarating show in town, Great singing, Refreshing

See it if you are interested in the life and music of Woody Guthrie. 4 exuberant actors/musicians make his story relevant!

Don't see it if you are not interested in learning about Woody Guthrie or hearing his songs.

Great cast and musicianship, Entertaining, Absorbing, Polished, Resonant

See it if Enjoy folk music & are interested in the socio-political history behind these songs. Cast is talented and set/lighting adds drama.

Don't see it if You aren't interested in hearing about the working man in 20th cent. history and may not enjoy the leftist politics of Woody Guthrie.

Also I found this thoroughly entertaining and loved the little bits of stor... Read more Read less

Great singing, Great staging, Great writing, Resonant, Entertaining

See it if You are interested in Woody Guthrie, the man who wrote songs about America, and the people who built it into the country that it is today.

Don't see it if You cannot bear to hear a Socialist point of view. Dislike folk music. Do not care about Woody Guthrie's tough life.

Also Woody Guthrie died of ALS. He had a very tough upbringing and this pla... Read more Read less

Delightful, Entertaining, Great singing, Intelligent, Relevant

See it if you enjoy the music of Woody Guthrie and will appreciate seeing the story of his life as a musician and activist.

Don't see it if you are so young that you never heard of Woodie Guthrie,; dislike folk music; are looking for a "plot"; this is a bio of Guthrie in music

Intelligent, Great singing, Relevant, Refreshing, Resonant

See it if You're an artist, patriot, citizen and have worried that our commercial culture threatens to dull your passion or compromise your integrity

Don't see it if You can’t abide folk music; you want visual splendor; it's boring when there are no brash divas and only normal people onstage

Also This production is a poem—all language and rhythm. Plaintive melodies ... Read more Read less

Entertaining, Ambitious, Great musicians, Relevant

See it if you dont know anything about Woody Guthrie. Want to see some great musicians at work. Want to hear Guthrie's music well performed.

Don't see it if You want something in depth/ not geared toward entertainment by eliding over the serious issues Guthrie faced.

Also I went with a friend who actually knew Guthrie so perhaps I am a bit j... Read more Read less

Entertaining, Great singing, Thought-provoking

See it if you like the music of Woody Guthrie.

Don't see it if you expect a good story and character development. This is a review of Guthrie's songs held together with a loose narrative of his life.

Entertaining, Great singing, Delightful, Fun, Great music

See it if you like folk music, Woody's songs interspersed with stories of his life as told by an actor speaking Woody's words; rousing music

Don't see it if want more of an in-depth look at his life, don't want stories about the great Depression

Also the four actors play a variety of instruments on stage from a harmonic... Read more Read less

Entertaining, Intelligent, Ambitious

See it if you like folk music and want to know more about Middle America during the Depression. More a history lesson with snippets of Woody's music.

Don't see it if you do not like folk music. The cast of four are musically muli talented.

Great singing, Great musicians, Delightful, Entertaining, Riveting

See it if you like the music of Woody Guthrie or just enjoy folk music and would like to know more about his life.

Don't see it if if you don't like folk music or not a fan of Woody Guthrie.

Intelligent, Entertaining, Inspiring, Relevant

See it if you are a Guthrie fan. The lead is fantastic! A inspirational life story of an activist, songwriter. More folk story than traditional play

Don't see it if .. because it closed in NYC - sounds like it will be mounted again. If it's near you, it's worth seeing.

Also I saw this the 9/09, the day before closing. I wish it had extended it... Read more Read less

Energetic, Talented cast, Relevant, Delightful, Touching

See it if you enjoy protest folk songs performed by extremely talented musicians and singers that provide entertainment and is very relevant to today.

Don't see it if you dislike protest folksongs that support very progressive political positions.

Entertaining, Great singing, Relevant, Great musicians, Masterful

See it if you want to spend two hours with talented musicians/singers with Woody Guthrie's biographical info interwoven into the plot.

Don't see it if you don't like folk music.

Also The four talented performers seem to be enjoying the performance as mu... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Refreshing, Intelligent, Entertaining, Resonant

See it if You are interested in a quick survey of Woody Guthrie's life and music. He has such an impressive songbook.

Don't see it if You want something more in depth. While I enjoyed the music, it was difficult to have an emotional connection.

Enjoyable overview of the singer/activist's life and work, Well performed, Most of the music was new to me

See it if You are a fan of Woody Guthrie's music and would like to know more about his life and times.

Don't see it if You are expecting to laugh. Most of Guthrie's story is tragic.

Absorbing, Entertaining, Nostalgic, wonderful music, Relevant

See it if If you like Woody Guthrie's music GO. The musicians and singers are outstanding. Show far superior to 59 E 59 production a few years ago

Don't see it if If you do not like Woody's music, you are against his politics, you do not care for small musical productions, blue grass or folk.

Delightful, Entertaining, Great singing, Refreshing, Relevant

See it if You like incredibly talented musicians who will share the story of Woody Guthrie through song. Foot tapping, fun and poignant.

Don't see it if You don't like folk music, don't care about politics, don't like historical plays or biographies.

Delightful, Entertaining, Great singing, Great staging, Resonant

See it if For a rousing musical tour through Woody Guthrie's life, music, care for the working man by an excellent ensemble playing all instruments

Don't see it if You don't like musical singalong but even if you don't care for his music or politics this is an endearing group and feel good theater

Delightful, Intelligent, Resonant, Entertaining, Absorbing

See it if you are a fan of Woody Guthrie or just want to learn more about him, if you like folk music, if you want to be entertained and inspired.

Don't see it if you don't like folk music, you don't like leftist politics, you want theatre to be elaborately staged, you don't like biographical shows.

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 Guthr...
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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 w...
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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 ens...
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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...
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