Lyric Theatre Presents US Premiere of 'WOODY SEZ' 3/26 - 4/11

Lyric Theatre, Oklahoma's premiere professional theatre company, will present the American Premiere of Woody Sez, the words, music, & spirit of Woody Guthrie as part of the 2009 "Lyric at the Plaza" season.

This unique theatrical concert event celebrates The Life and spirit of American folk legend Woody Guthrie, whose music continues to inspire today's finest storytelling songwriters including Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, John Mellencamp, the Indigo Girls, and Billy Bragg. Lyric's production will run from March 26th through April 11th and features the show's original cast from its European tour.

Renowned Broadway performer, storyteller, and guitar theatre legend David Lutken (Inherit The Wind, Ring of Fire, The Civil War) stars in the title role, and accomplished actor-musicians Darcie Deaville, Helen Russell, and Andy Teirstein join in to portray the many people who make up the fabric of Guthrie's amazing story. The four accompany themselves on over 15 different instruments, ranging from guitar and fiddle to jaw harp and dulcimer.

Woodrow Wilson "Woody" Guthrie was born in 1912 in Okemah, Oklahoma. He 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. Many of his recorded songs are archived in the Library of Congress. Guthrie traveled from Oklahoma to California and later New York and used his rich life experiences and observations to write traditional folk and blues songs, many of which deal with the Great Depression. Guthrie died from complications of Huntington's disease, a progressive genetic neurological disorder. During his later years, in spite of his illness, Guthrie served as a figurehead in the folk movement, providing inspiration to a generation of new folk musicians.

Millard Lampell, who sang and wrote songs with Guthrie in the early 1940s, created the template in 1956 for what would later become the Woody Sez concert narrative. He put together a program of Woody's words and music, called "California to the New York Island", that was performed as a tribute by performers, players and dancers. Some fifty years later, David Lutken and Nick Corley followed his lead and wove Guthrie's songs together with excerpts and anecdotes from books and the columns he wrote for the People's Daily World. Woody Sez: the words, music, & spirit of Woody Guthrie made its debut at the 2007 Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland. The cast's infectious enjoyment and a stirring mix of moving ballads and energetic foot-stompers, including "This Land Is Your Land", "Oklahoma Hills" and "This Train Is Bound For Glory," resulted in rave reviews and delighted crowds throughout the subsequent European tour. The production won the Argus Angel Award at the 2008 Brighton Festival Fringe.

When Nick Corley accepted the position as Lyric's new artistic director, he was thrilled with the timing and what it meant for the future of Woody Sez. With the blessing of the Guthrie estate, Corley, who has directed the show from its inception, prepared Lyric for the American premiere, so that Oklahomans could be the first in the country to celebrate Guthrie's life and music in this special way. After the Oklahoma City production, the cast will travel back to the United Kingdom for performances at the Norwich Playhouse, the Komedia in Brighton, and the Udderbelly at London's Southbank Center.

Lyric Theatre's Woody Sez performances are March 26th through April 11th: Thursdays at 7:30pm, Fridays at 8:00pm, Saturdays at 2:00pm & 8:00pm. For tickets:, (405) 524-9312, or in person at 1727 NW 16th St, Oklahoma City, OK.

In Oklahoma City, the renovation and opening of Plaza Theatre, located on NW 16th Street between Penn and Classen, means that audiences can look forward to an intimate world-class theatrical experience, complete with free accessible parking, ultra-comfortable seating, and a full service cash bar. The 2009 "Lyric at the Plaza" season concludes in May with Steel Magnolias. Lyric will continue to produce its annual summer season at downtown Oklahoma City's Civic Center Music Hall, beginning in June with Disney's High School Musical 2 and continuing with The Music Man, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, The Producers, and Little Shop of Horrors.


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