Woody Guthrie Dreams Before Dying


I’m honored to be playing the part of Cisco Houston in ‘Woody Guthrie Dreams Before Dying’ by Michael Patrick Flanagan Smith. We’re staging a dramatic reading with live music next Monday, November 15th in Manhattan.

Theater for the New City
“New City, New Blood” reading series presents…

Woody Guthrie Dreams

a play by Michael Patrick Flanagan Smith
Directed by Sarah Seely

Featuring: Michael Patrick F. Smith, Jennifer Restivo, Caleb Stine, Freddy Arsenault, Erica Lutz, Kelvin Hale, Helene Kuhn, Robin Singer, Ben Jaeger-Thomas, Nick Russo, Kathryn Harrison and Jason Planitzer

Monday, Nov. 15th
$5 suggested donation
Tickets are available at: http://www.theaterforthenewcity.net/index.html

Theater for the New City
155 First Avenue (btw. 9th & 10th streets)

“Woody Guthrie Dreams” takes place in the final moments of the iconic American folk singer’s life. Guthrie, a hard-bitten Dust Bowl Balladeer, sign painter, social activist, WWII veteran, union man, author of “This Land is Your Land” and titanic influence on Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and others, spent the final decade of his life bedridden in a psychiatric ward.

In “Woody Guthrie Dreams,” the folksinger dreams his way back through life, revisiting moments of his own biography, playing songs across the nation with Pete Seeger, Cisco Houston and Lead Belly. He confronts dream figures such as Jesus Christ, Josef Stalin and cartoonish Fat Capitalists. Guthrie is swept up in a whirlwind romance with the love of his life, Marjorie, a Martha Graham dancer. He battles his own fears, insecurities and a long debilitating illness, all the while throwing himself into a wild attempt at creating a better world, one sung chorus after another

Smith began work on “Woody Guthrie dreams before dying” in 2001. In addition to reading the major works on Guthrie, Smith visited the Smithsonian and the Woody Guthrie Archives, poring over Woody’s unpublished writings and listening to his unreleased recordings. He interviewed Guthrie’s contemporaries such as Pete Seeger, Harold Leventhal and Ramblin’ Jack Elliott among others. Smith traveled across the country visiting Woody’s hometown of Okemah, Oklahoma and other favorite haunts, chasing Woody’s ghost “from California to the New York Islands.”

Smith has written and produced many plays including “Fuck You! Let’s Bake!” featuring Duff Goldman and leading to the creation of Food Network’s “Ace of Cakes.” Smith worked with Robert Anton Wilson (Cosmic Trigger, Illuminatus! Trilogy), adapting and directing “Wilhelm Reich in Hell” for the Son of Semele Ensemble in Los Angeles in 2004. He wrote “Pirates A-Go Go” for Baltimore’s Fluid Movement which was performed on the U.S.S. Constellation, the oldest U.S. naval vessel still afloat. Smith also directed “Julius Caesar” for Mobtown Player’s Shakespeare in Patterson Park, Baltimore. Smith wrote and directed “BOX” which was performed at the New York Fringe Festival and “Trust the Government,” produced at Dixon Place.

For the past several years, Smith has been performing as a folk musician. His first album “All the Cars My Friends Stole” was featured on iTunes front page as a “New and Noteworthy” release in February 2010. He has shared the stage with bands and performers such as Deer Tick, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott and Wye Oak.

4 Responses to “Woody Guthrie Dreams Before Dying”

  1. Jim Clark Says:

    Wish we could see it. Going on the road anywhere?

  2. Mary Miller Says:

    Hey, I saw this show at the Creative Alliance at the Patterson in Baltimore a few years ago and IT ROCKED!!! I had to go back and see it three times and I would love to see it again. Will it come back to Baltimore anytime soon?

  3. Chris Barnett Says:

    Hey guys,

    Great show. I fully enjoyed it. I was wondering if you were accepting donations or if there was a website that you guys may have set up to get this show funded.
    Would love to hear back. You guys rock!

  4. Laurie Walcott Says:

    Awesome. Loved it. Great talent, and great show – good story (which is hard for a biographical type piece). Funny, poignant, and very playful moments. I could tell the cast was enjoying it themselves. Loved the music. Wish I didn’t have to commute 2,000 miles to see it, but it was very worth the trip!!

Leave a Reply