This musical portrait celebrates the colorful life and rich musical legacy of the legendary Woody Guthrie, who defined an American era of social consciousness and political expression with songs like “This Land is Your Land” and “The Ballad of Tom Joad.”

at Northlight Theatre
9501 Skokie Boulevard, Skokie, IL 60077


Darcie Deaville


Darcie is a Toronto native and longtime Austin resident.  Darcie has played on over 200 recordings, combining her signature style with the likes of Ani di Franco, Slaid Cleaves, Eliza Gilkyson, Mary Gauthier and Tom Paxton. Currently a band member in The Austin Lounge Lizards, Darcie also has five of her own CDs, the latest beingLivin’ on the Lucky Side. She’s toured Canada, the USA, Mexico, Germany, Austria, England, Scotland, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, and the Czech Republic. Darcie’s theatre work includes the 2001 debut of her musical, Tornado in Slo Mo,Oil City Symphony, Woody Guthrie’s American Song, Back Bog Beast Bait, Cotton-patch Gospel and Always, Patsy Cline.

David Finch


David is an actor/musician specializing on strings and horns. Finch has played beside Alan Cumming, Serj Tankian, Tony Bennett, Amanda Palmer and Dee Snider. On Broadway he did the Tony Award-winning revival of Cabaretand has performed Woody Sez in Londonʼs West End, the Edinburgh Fringe, the Glasgow Celtic Connection Festival, the Lyric Theatre in Oklahoma City (U.S. premiere) as well as A.R.T. and the Adirondack Theatre Festival. Off-Broadway:Fame, Spring Storm. National/International tours: Cabaret, Fame. Regional: Prometheus Bound, Hank Williamsʼ Lost Highway, Grapes of Wrath, 1940ʼs Radio Hour, Fiddler on the Roof and Buddy. Finch was an Associate Producer at Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS in NYC from 2004-2006. His recently released CD is called the fiddle made me do it.

Helen Jean Russell


Helen grew up making music. After relocating from a small town in Maryland to New York City, she switched her focus to acting, which led to producing variety shows that featured The City Singers, an a capella choir that she cofounded and directed. Helen is an original cast member of Woody Sez and was part of its 2007 debut in Edinburgh, as well as subsequent tours throughout the UK and Europe, the American debut at the Lyric in Oklahoma, the Arts Theatre in London’s West End, and at A.R.T. in Boston. At home in Manhattan, she works as an actor, musical director and publishing technology consultant. Her debut CD, Holly Days, was released in 2008, and she is currently working on a second.

Production Team

Nick Corley


Nick Corley made his West End and American Repertory Theater directing debut with Woody Sez, which he also co-wrote. (Evening Standard Award “Best Musical” nom.)  Other directing credits include the NYC productions of Tall Grass; Flight (Callaway nom.); About Face (NYMF Best Direction nom.); Mother Russia (Carnegie Hall); Fables In Slang; Tim and Scrooge; The Overcoat. As director and co-author: premieres of A Young Lady of Fashion (Fulton Opera House); Eliot Ness…in Cleveland (Denver Theatre Centre).  Regionally he has worked at Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma (former artistic director), Houston’s Alley Theatre, Adirondack Theater Festival, St. Louis Rep., Vermont’s Commons Group. As performer: Broadway (current revival of The Mystery of Edwin DroodMary Poppins, A Christmas Carol, She Loves Me), off-Broadway, regional theatre, film (Kissing Jessica Stein), television.

David M. Lutken

Co-Devisor/Music Director

BROADWAY: Inherit the Wind; Ring of Fire; The Civil War; The Will Rogers Follies.

N.Y. CITY OPERA: Paul Bunyan

OFF-BROADWAY: Southern Comfort; Stars in Your Eyes; Winter Man; The Portable Pioneer & Prairie Show, and Woody Sez: The Life & Music of Woody Guthrie (Outer Critics’ Circle, Off-Broadway Alliance and Drama League Best Musical nominations)

LONDON: Dark of the Moon; Woody Sez (Evening Standard Best Musical nomination)

REGIONAL UK: Bonnie and Clyde; A Month In The Country.

REGIONAL US: Our Town; Man of La Mancha; Big River; Elmer Gantry; Finian’s Rainbow; The Will Rogers Follies; Fire On The Mountain; Lost Highway; Buddy; Pump Boys and Dinettes; The Love List; The Man Who Came to Dinner; On Golden Pond; Mark Twain’s River of Song; Almost Heaven, and The Porch on Windy Hill. (Best Actor nomination, Connecticut Critics’ Circle Awards)

With Woody Sez, he and his company have toured Europe, the British Isles, China, the Middle East and The United States. For his portrayal of Woody Guthrie, David won the Helen Hayes and the Joseph Jefferson Award for Best Actor.

He has performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, The Public Theater, The 92nd St Y, at Cooper Union, Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium, Chicago’s Navy Pier, with the North Carolina Symphony and the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra, on NPR, the BBC, Polskie Radio Troika, ORF Austria, Voice Of America, and The Louisiana Hayride.

Sherry Lutken

Associate Director

Sherry directed the premiere of The Porch on Windy Hill at The Ivoryton Playhouse (Connecticut Critics nomination: Best Director). Off-Broadway and Regional directing and choreography credits include: The Bourgeois Gentleman, The Million Dollar Quartet, Pump Boys and Dinettes, Hank Williams: Lost Highway, Stand By Your Man, Stars in Your Eyes, Almost Heaven, Hopscotch and Anything Goes. In 2009, she directed the first regional theater production of Ring of Fire: The Music of Johnny Cash at North Carolina’s Flat Rock Playhouse. She has directed many subsequent productions around the US, as well as internationally — at Vienna’s English Theatre and The Deutsches Theater in Munich. As Associate Director of the critically acclaimed Woody Sez: The Life and Music of Woody Guthrie, Sherry has staged productions of the musical in Chicago at Northlight Theatre (Joseph Jefferson Award nomination: Best Musical Revue), Washington D.C. (Helen Hayes Award nomination: Best Musical), Florida, Pennsylvania, and its first National UK Tour.

Luke Hegel-Cantarella

Set Design

Luke designed Woody Sez for the Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma. New York: The Atlantic Theatre Company, Lucille Lortel, the 2004 Whitney Biennial. International: Blue Shade (Rozentheatre, Amsterdam) and Redwood Curtain (American University-Cairo). Regional: Yale Repertory, Pittsburgh Public, Berkshire Theatre Festival, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Adirondack Theatre Festival, the Prince Music Theatre. Designs for Opera: La Clemenza di Tito (Wolftrap), Cosi fan Tutte (Curtis Opera), La Traviata (Opera at Peabody). He was art director for a season of the hit FX show “Damages” and was a set designer on the films Julie & Julia, State of Play and The Accidental Husband. Luke is head of the set design program at the University of California-Irvine and a Yale School of Drama graduate.

Jeffrey Meek

Costume Design

Jeffrey has been Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma’s Resident Costume Designer for 12 years, has designed the last six years of the OKC Philharmonic’s “A Very Merry Pops”, and was The Ohio Light Opera’s Principal Costumer for nine seasons. Jeffrey has worked with The Point Theatre, Jewel Box Theatre, Carpenter Square, The Eastman School of Music, Colossal Studios, Reduxion Theatre Company, Casa Mañana Theatre, Tulsa Opera and Stage One. Most recently he has branched into the world of film, designing wardrobe for Pearl Carter Scott with Media 13 and Fingerprints. Jeffrey is a proud graduate of Oklahoma City University.

Christine A. Binder

Lighting Design

Christine has designed for Writers, Steppenwolf, Chicago Shakespeare, Court, Lookingglass, Geva Theatre, and the Joffrey Ballet among others.  Her opera designs include work at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Chicago Opera Theatre, San Diego Opera, New York City Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Canadian Opera Company, and Houston Grand Opera.  Recent designs include: Mansfield Park (Northlight), A Doll’s House, Part 2 (Steppenwolf), and Onegin (Canadian Opera Company and Washington National Opera). Upcoming productions are: The Agitators (Alabama Shakespeare); The Last Match (Writers); Her Honor Mayor Jane Byrne, Lookingglass Alice (Lookingglass); and Onegin (Seiji Ozawa Festival/Matsumoto, Japan). Ms. Binder has been nominated for Joseph Jefferson Awards for her work with Court, Northlight, and Lookingglass.  She is an Artistic Associate with Lookingglass and Head of Lighting at The Theatre School at DePaul University.

Rick Sims

Sound Design

Rick has composed and designed sound for numerous Chicago-area theaters, including Steppenwolf, Lookingglass, Northlight, Congo Square, Writers, Lifeline, Griffin, Chicago Children’s Theatre, Court, American Blues, Victory Gardens and Steep. Regional credits include Arena Stage and Roundhouse Theatre in Washington D.C., Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, South Coast Rep in Southern California, The Getty, Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, Arden Theatre Company in Philadelphia, 2nd Stage and Playwrights Horizons in New York City, Actors Theatre of Louisville and Portland Playhouse. He is an artistic associate of Lookingglass, an artistic affiliate with American Blues and is currently composing music for The Thanksgiving Play at 2nd Stage Theatre on Broadway. Sims won a Jeff Award for sound design for Lookingglass’ Moby Dick, Frankenstein, and Hepheastus, and a BTA award for Congo Squares Brothers In the Dust. Sims also wrote the book, music and lyrics for Lookingglass Hillbilly Antigone.

Rita Vreeland

Production Stage Manager

Rita Vreeland has been a frequent stage manager at Northlight since 2007, with Birthday Candles marking her 42nd production here. Other favorite recent projects include Ernest Shackleton Loves Me at Porchlight Music Theatre, A Christmas Carol at Drury Lane, The Luckiest at Raven Theatre, three years of The Polar Express Train Ride, and productions at Mercury Theatre, Victory Gardens, Route 66 Theatre Company, Theatre at the Center, and The Galway International Arts Festival in Galway, Ireland. She is the proud wife of actor Tom Hickey and mom to ten-year-old Charlie, and this year she celebrated her 22nd anniversary as a member of Actors’ Equity Association. Thank you for supporting live theatre!