"Woody Guthrie's American Song,” presented by River Company under the direction of Torie DeLisle opens on Friday, Oct. 6 with a “pay what you can” preview at The Peace Gallery (112 Main) in Damariscotta at 7:30 p.m. After you’ve seen the giant pumpkins lining the Main Street, come see the show - maybe even sing!
There are three more performances in the Porter Room at Skidompha Public Library (184 Main St., Damariscotta) on Saturday, Oct. 7 and Saturday, Oct. 14 at 7:30. There will be one matinee on Sunday, Oct. 15 at 3 p.m. Tickets, $15 for adults and $5 for youth, are on sale at 207-449-2943 and rivercompany.ticketspice.com/woody.
This show is all Woody's own words and songs of the road. It features 32 North, an American string band named after the road that took them from their birthplace in Round Pond, Maine to venues all around the Midcoast, For the last seven years, they have been delivering the best from country music's outlaws, the swamp, bluegrass, Grateful Dead and traditional selections. 32 North will bring its brand of groove, style and passion to music and stories from the American highway with this talented cast of singers and actors. 32 North features John Monterisi, Cap’n Frank Bedell, and Gary McCue who are also players.
River Company’s actors are Ella Ackerman, Nick Azzaretti, Erin Barton, S Ellie Busby, and Sumner Fernald Richards III. No one actor plays Woody - this piece is not intended to be an impersonation of Woody or a traditional biography. In fact, every member of the ensemble takes on the first-person perspective at some point in the piece. Woody believed that his works were best heard coming from the people around him, and Woody Guthrie's “American Song” takes that philosophy to heart.
" . . . I have heard a storm of words in me, enough to write several hundred songs and that many books. I know that these words I hear are not my own private property. Your works and my works held hands and our memories never did separate... I borrowed my life from the works of your life. " Woody Guthrie
Songs from the show include "This Land Is Your Land," "Hard Travelin',” " "Bound for Glory," "Union Maid," "Dust Bowl Refugee" and many more of his songs are so familiar that as soon as the music starts you’ll know the next tune and be welcomed to join the chorus.
For actor Busby, this production is personal: as a young man her father, Curtis Busby, was on the road with his band, The Monument Mountaineers. “They hitched rides from Housatonic, MA to Chicago’s ‘A Century of Progress’ World’s Fair in 1933–34,” Busby said. “They played across to the Fair and along the way, often alongside a man who became a legend - Woody Guthrie. I was lucky to have a father who not only lived life hard and full and joyously, but shared it in his stories to his children. I grew up singing the songs and stories of the great depression and am honored to now be part of a production of Woody Guthrie’s ‘American Song.’”
Following the “pay what you can” preview at the Peace Gallery, performances continue in the Porter Room at Skidompha Public Library (184 Main St., Damariscotta on Saturday, Oct. 7 and Saturday, Oct. 14 at 7:30 p.m. There will be one matinee Sunday, Oct. 15 at 3 p.m.
Tickets - $15/adults and $5/youth - are on sale at rivercompany.ticketspice.com/woody or at 207-449-2943. Come to the show to share the songs and stories of the Great Depression, the early labor movement, the Dust Bowl, tragedies and triumphs. For more about this show, visit https://www.woodyguthrie.org/projects/wgamericansong.htm.