Region-reared thesp, playwright and screenwriter Randy Noojin credits a casual visit to his Lake Central High School’s auditorium with setting him on his career path.
“I remember when I was 15 or 16 and went in to see a little cutting of a play they were doing, ‘Arsenic and Old Lace,’ and it was just magical to me,” he said. “I couldn’t believe how these people were on stage and all well lit. It was like the movie coming to life. It was totally jaw dropping.”
Presenting his tribute to folk icon Woody Guthrie, “Hard Travelin’ With Woody,” Oct 19 and 21 at Cedar Lake’s Great Oaks After Four Club, Noojin, who resides in New York City, was active in the Lake Central Theatre Guild and graduated in 1978.
In addition to gracing stages throughout the country over the years, Noojin has been seen on the big screen in films such as “Tower Heist,” “Arthur” and “MIB3,” and on television shows such as “Gossip Girl,” “Smash” and “The Good Wife.” He will next be seen in a supporting role on HBO’s acclaimed “Boardwalk Empire.”
Additionally, Noojin penned the romantic comedy “Unbeatable Harold,” which was released on the big screen in 2009 and featured Henry Winkler, Dylan McDermott and Charles Durning in its cast.
Noojin discovered pioneering songsmith and activist Guthrie through two of Guthrie’s disciples, Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen, who have both cited him as an influence on their own music. From there, Noojin took to Guthrie’s 1943 autobiography, “Bound for Glory,” and put his own pen to paper from there.
Noojin admitted to being as much a fan of the causes Guthrie championed as well as his music.
“I played some of this play down at Occupy Wall Street and I lucked out,” he said. “This show and what Woody has to say has a lot to do with the 99 percent versus the one percent and fairness and the working man versus the corporate giant.
“It’s beautiful to be able to do a show that I wrote, but to also say exactly what I mean using a historical figure’s words and life to present the ideas I believe in.”
‘Travelin’ made its debut last summer and has been staged throughout the country ever since. Noojin is also slated to bring ‘Travelin’ to the stage Oct. 26 at Uncommon Ground, 1401 W. Devon Ave., Chicago.
A portion of the proceeds from Noojin’s “Travelin’” shows will benefit the Cedar Lake Food Pantry. A dinner will be served 90 minutes to each show time.