WOODY SEZ to Play Milwaukee Rep, 1/3-3/9

WOODY SEZ to Play Milwaukee Rep, 1/3-3/9

A joyous, toe-tapping, and moving theatrical concert event which celebrates the colorful life and rich musical legacy of America's greatest troubadour, Woody Sez: The Life and Music of Woody Guthrie features more than 25 songs including classics like "This Land is Your Land," "Pastures of Plenty" and "The Ballad of Tom Joad." The original folk hero, Woody Guthrie, and his infectious melodies defined an American era of political expression and transformed the folk ballad into a vehicle of social commentary and unity. The Rep is excited to kick off 2014 with a musical salute to this music icon in this award-winning production.

Devised by David M. Lutken, Nick Corley, Darcie Deaville, Helen Jean Russell and Andy Teirstein, Woody Sez will be directed by Nick Corley. David M. Lutken will provide musical direction for this production. The cast features David Finch, Leenya Rideout, Helen Jean Russell and David M. Lutken, who recently received a 2013 Helen Hayes Award, Best Lead Actor and 2013 Jeff Award for his role in Woody Sez. Playing in the Stackner Cabaret January 3 - March 9, Woody Sez: The Life and Music of Woody Guthrie opens Sunday, January 5. The production is sponsored by Associate Producers Wayne and Kristine Lueders.

"After seeing this beautifully-crafted piece in Chicago, I knew that we had to bring it to Milwaukee," said Artistic Director Mark Clements. "Even though Woody Guthrie wrote songs responding to the people and events of a particular period, like any other pieces of great art, his songs still rouse the heart, capture the imagination and resonate just as strongly today as when they were first written - true classics!"

David Finch, an actor/musician based in Brooklyn, New York, has performed with Alan Cumming, Serj Tankian, Tony Bennett, Amanda Palmer and Dee Snider, among others, in venues ranging from Lincoln Center to San Francisco's Castro Theatre. A cast member of the Tony Award-winning revival of Cabaret, he performed on Broadway at Studio 54 and toured the U.S., Canada and Japan. He made his West End debut with Evening Standard Best Musical nominee Woody Sez. Off-Broadway credits include Fame on 42nd Street and the New York premiere of Tennessee Williams' Spring Storm. He is also co-creator and musical supervisor of Careless Love: A Down Home Musical.

David M. Lutken, (Music Director/Co-Deviser/Choreographer), a 2013 Helen Hayes Award, Best Lead Actor and 2013 Jeff Award winner for his role in Woody Sez, studied at London's Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art. He has performed in Europe and the United Kingdom, at Lincoln Center, the 92nd Street Y and Carnegie Hall and made his West End debut with Woody Sez (2011 London Evening Standard nominee, Best Musical). Broadway credits include Inherit the Wind, Ring of Fire, The Civil War and The Will Rogers Follies. Off-Broadway includes Southern Comfort, Stars in Your Eyes, The Portable Pioneer and Prairie Show, Woody Guthrie's American Song and Winter Man. In the U.K., Dark of the Moon, Bonnie and Clyde and A Month in the Country. Selected U.S. regional credits include Man of La Mancha, Elmer Gantry, Finian's Rainbow, Big River, Pump Boys and Dinettes, The Love List and Death in England, among many others.

Leenya Rideout has appeared on Broadway in: War Horse; Cyrano de Bergerac (with Kevin Kline); Company (Jenny) and Cabaret. Off-Broadway: Yiddle with a Fiddle (American Jewish Theatre); The Portable Pioneer and Prairie Show (Melting Pot Theatre Company) and Cowgirls (Minetta Lane Theatre). Regional: The Last of the Red Hot Lovers and Gypsy (Hangar Theatre); Holidays with the Chalks (Alliance Theater) and Merrily We roll Along (Gussie) (Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park), among others. Television/radio: Company (PBS); Cyrano de Bergerac (PBS); My Favorite Broadway (PBS); Nashville Star (USA Network), Jerry Lewis Telethon and Selected Shorts (NPR).

Helen Jean Russell, based in Manhattan, has produced variety shows featuring The City Singers, an a cappella choir that she cofounded and directed. Russell was part of Woody Sez's 2007 debut in Edinburgh, as well as subsequent tours throughout the U.K. and Europe, the American debut at Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma, the Arts Theatre in London's West End and at American Repertory Theater in Boston. At home in Manhattan, she works as an actor, musical director and publishing technology consultant. In 2012 she was nominated for a Helen Hayes Award, Best Lead Actress for her work in Woody Sez. Her debut CD, Holly Days, was released in 2008, and she is at work on a second.

Understudies for Woody Sez: The Life and Music of Woody Guthrie are: Kevin Barry Crowley, Patrick Budde and Elyse Edelman.

Tickets for Woody Sez: The Life and Music of Woody Guthrie begin at $40.00. Single Tickets for all of Milwaukee Repertory Theater's 2013/14 productions are now on sale and can be purchased online 24/7 at www.MilwaukeeRep.com, through The Rep's Ticket Office by calling 414-224-9490 or in person at 108 E. Wells Street. Group tickets are also available for purchase by calling 414-290-5340.

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