Show to Spotlight Music Legend at Gardner-Webb

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Solo Act to Feature Works of Woody Guthrie at Millennium Playhouse Nov. 14-15

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—The works of renowned American singer-songwriter Woody Guthrie will come alive on a Gardner-Webb stage in November as the University presents a one-man multimedia show focused on his folk music, writing and traveling experiences.

Writer-actor Randy Noojin will present “Hard Travelin’ with Woody” in GWU’s Millennium Playhouse on Nov. 14 at 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 15 at 2:30 p.m. The show, which includes music as well as images and text from Guthrie’s various biographical accounts, is part of the University’s School of Performing and Visual Arts Distinguished Artists Series.

Noojin, whose previous theater work connected him with GWU Dean and Professor Jim Thomas, describes himself as a roots music fan who grew up listening to Hank Williams and who loves Bob Dylan’s music. “Bob met Woody Guthrie in New York after hearing his albums, they became friends, and for the first year after he started playing in Greenwich Village, Bob imitated Woody Guthrie,” Noojin recounted. “He played his songs and wore his kinds of clothes. I figured if Bob got his genius from acting like Woody Guthrie then I would try it, too.”

When he found himself out of work during the recession in 2011, Noojin became deeply interested in Guthrie. A friend had performed several Guthrie tributes and shared one of the musician’s biographies. “I then found his autobiography and noticed that he wrote very much like John Steinbeck,” Noojin expounded. “It sounded very stage-worthy to me. It’s fun to listen to, so I ran with it. I needed to write myself an acting job with a simple show and set that I could take on the road. Seeking work—that’s how I relate to Woody, who traveled around with workers as he learned songs and experienced the Great Depression era.”

Audiences for Noojin’s performance become part of Guthrie’s experiences, as the show is set in a fictional workers union meeting where the actor encourages his spectators to stand up for their rights. “I started collecting what Woody said about certain things and decided pretty soon that a union meeting would be a great place to set the show because he did go to such meetings in the 1940s and encourage people to unite,” Noojin explained. “What he was saying has a lot of resonance after our own recession. So it’s not just a history play. It can also be about today.”

Seats for the show are $10 for adults, $5 for students and seniors, and free for GWU students, faculty and staff. To purchase tickets, call the GWU box office at 704-406-2066, email rsams@gardner-webb.edu, or go online to gardner-webb.edu/theatre-arts.

For more information about Noojin and “Hard Travelin’ with Woody,” visit hardtravelinshow.com.

Auxiliary aids will be made available to persons with disabilities upon request 48 hours prior to the event. Please call 704-406-4253 or email servicerequests@gardner-webb.edu with your request.

Located in Boiling Springs, N.C., Gardner-Webb University offers a comprehensive academic experience that introduces students to the diverse world of ideas and to the people who think them, preparing them not only for professional success but for lives marked with empathy, compassion and a commitment to service on the broadest scale.