All In The Family Woody

Thanksgiving’s the time for the Guthrie Family Reunion and Arlo brought the whole family together again last night at Carnegie Hall up in NYC, along with Pete Seger and other assorted friends joining the fesitivies. We’ve had our own Guthrie/Family celebration this weekend here in DC; a Sold Out Woody Sez For Kids performance on Friday, followed by a jam-packed Black Friday matinee, and then a Friday night house party for Theater J subscriber (and dear father-in-law) Jerrold Schecter for his 80th birthday party, featuring a wonderful informal concert from three of the four Woody cast members, along with a great bar-b-que dinner catered by the DCJCC’s own accounting wiz Teresa Conway! A happy household of 40+ family and friends sang along to new verses penned to the tune of “This Land Is Your Land” (“This Dad is Your Dad/This Dad is My Dad”) as an exhausted (3-show day) cast was fortified and plied with generous libations and cornbread doggie bags (though I think most of the take-home packages got left on the kitchen table). Instruments were returned to the dressing room in time for another “historic” shabbat matinee performance at 3 the next day; over 220 enjoyed a spirited show that saw us able to bring in 12 Schecter-Roth ticket holders, joining the Chethik-Ahuja family (my college house-mate/best man at the wedding back a century ago), joining up with the wonderful Krislov family (Marvin, of course, being the president of Oberlin College, showing up, as he so frequently he does whenever he’s in town visiting family with wife Amy) and reconnecting with their favorite baby-sitter and OB grad, Isabel, while reconnecting with Barnett (my brother-in-law, for whom Marvin was a Residence Hall advisor at Yale, back in that proverbial last century). In short, the family connections kept generating warmth all weekend long thanks to the generosity of our performers, and the majesty of Woody’s music. And there are still 2 more Sunday shows to go today, with another rousing hootenanny tonight at 9:30!

This is to appreciate how folk music/roots music/our shared songs can bring us together, friends and family, into a more closely-knit community. Moving discussion followed the shabbat matinee as a choked-up grandfather [not Grandpa Jerrold, someone else!], sitting with his entire nuclear family in the front row, movingly spoke of how deeply this music of-and-about the downtrodden spoke to him; how sorely it’s been missing from his life; from our lives; this shared consciousness; this common song that we sing together to connect with those left behind. He could barely get the words out… Took his time while we circled onto other comments, and then he returned to close out the conversation, talking about how moving it was to return to this music, and this terribly moving story, on this holiday weekend, with all his family next to him, to salute a mostly forgotten voice, now blessedly being remembered across this great land.

Onward to another 2 show day (plus hoot) and more moving moments in the theater!