Celebrating Woody Guthrie at the A.R.T.

By Callie Crossley

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May 11, 2012

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David M. Lutken, Andy Teirstein. Photo by Wendy Mutz, Lyric Theater, Oklahoma

BOSTON — This year marks the 100th birthday of Woody Guthrie. A new tribute to his life and life's work has come to Cambridge. It's called "Woody Sez," a musical production now onstage at the A.R.T., and it explores Woody Guthrie's life while it celebrates his songs.

Born in Okemah, Oklahoma, Guthrie saw the devastation of the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression firsthand. Raw, gritty and full of poetry, his songs were for the folks who suffered no end of indignities during these hard times. The successes he achieved in his own lifetime were often undermined by his politics and 'tell it like it is" way of taking on the world.

Now a troupe paying tribute to Guthrie's greatest achievement — giving America folk music — brings a new show, a "theatrical portrait," to the stage. Guthrie once said, "A folk song is what's wrong and how to fix it or it could be, who's hungry and where their mouth is, or who's out of work and where the job is, or who's broke and where the money is or who's carrying a gun and where the peace is." Right now, the A.R.T. is where the music is. See the performance, then stay after to join a hootenanie with the cast and crew.

Watch devisor/music director of "Woody Sez," David Lutken, play one of Guthrie's iconic songs with its original lyrics in the WGBH studios.

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