I’ve never written a show review and may never again but I was so moved by the show that I felt compelled to write about it.
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Democrats Abroad sponsored HARD TRAVELIN’ with WOODY Thursday night at Act II Main Stage performed by acclaimed writer/performer, Randy Noojin.
Through Noojin, we enjoyed and relived not only Guthrie’s life through his music and drawings but a part of US History. With just the right eloquence, dress, and cadence of voice, Noojin transformed into Guthrie and took us on a hard traveled road down memory lane from the Oklahoma dustbowl to the migration out west with disdain and discrimination for those only trying to feed their families to his service in the US Army.
With an interweaving of narration, song, harmonica, and backdrop of Woody’s drawings and photos from the era, with humor, sadness, and a bit of sing along, we were all transformed back in time as if it was us making this
journey on his shoulder.
I think it’s fair to say that a tear or two were dropped and most certainly there were misty eyes. This road was not a pretty one but a part of our history that should never be forgotten.
This performance should have been packed to overflowing. Unfortunately, at this time of year, it wasn’t. If this town is so lucky as to be on Noojin’s agenda next year, it shouldn’t be missed!
Woodrow Wilson “Woody” Guthrie (July 14, 1912 – October 3, 1967) is best known as an American singer-songwriter and folk musician, whose musical legacy includes hundreds of political, traditional and children’s songs, ballads and improvised works. He frequently performed with the slogan This Machine Kills Fascists displayed on his guitar. His best-known song is “This Land Is Your Land”.
Guthrie traveled with migrant workers from Oklahoma to California and learned traditional folk and blues songs. Many of his songs are about his experiences in the Dust Bowl era during the Great Depression, earning him the nickname the “Dust Bowl Troubadour”. Along the way, with his collection of brushes, he painted history. He’s also the father of Arlo Guthrie.http://en.wikipedia.
Randy Noojin’s plays, THE COMPLAINT, THE KNIFE TRICK, YOU CAN’T TRUST THE MALE, UNBEATABLE HAROLD, and THE MEMORY COLLECTION (NEA Grant for Musical Theatre) have been commissioned and produced at Actors Theatre of Louisville, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Southern Appalachian Repertory Theatre,
Bloomington Playwrights Project, Circle Rep Lab, as well as nationwide and internationally; they are published by Dramatic Publishing Company. Randy holds an M.F.A. from The University of Iowa’s Playwrights Workshop. The feature film based on his play UNBEATABLE HAROLD premiered on Showtime in 2011, starring Dylan McDermott, Charles Durning and Henry Winkler. His one-man show HARD TRAVELIN’ WITH WOODY was originally produced at FringeNYC, 2011.
Randy has acted in hundreds of plays regionally and in New York at Circle Repertory, La Mama E.T.C., Circle-in-the-Square, Circle Rep Lab, and The Drilling Company. Film: Die Barkley, The Bench; Television: Boardwalk
Empire, Royal Pains. http://www.hardtravelinshow.