Lorrie's Story

How the American Woodsman came to be.

Meet Lorrie 

Playwright, songwriter, director, and main creative behind The American Woodsman.


The American Woodsman, represents the wanderer, the journeyman, the great American spirit in all of us.

Having spent the majority of my life in the theatre directing other playwrights works, I attended a seminar and was asked the question, "What do you really want to do?" In that moment, I knew I wanted to return to the theatre and direct an original story of my own telling.

The subject matter came to mind in a flash. My daughter and designer, Emily and I had been studying Audubon paint colors for my new home design where a plethora of spoonbills, wood storks, egrets and ibis migrated in Fernandina Beach, Florida each winter. We chose a bird to represent each room and used the colors from Audubon's Aquatints.

I learned about Audubon, the man and the journals he had written and set off on a Pilgrimage with my friend and pianist, Lynn Rossi, to discover them in St Francisville, Louisiana, where we would explore his bungalow and dwelling quarters.

From the tours of Oakley Plantation to the historical society, I was gifted with most of the information needed to write the play. In his journals, Audubon had written exciting stories about; migration of the Pewee flycatcher, Kentucky Barbeque on the 4th of July, the Madrid fault earthquake, Keel boat adventures down the Mississippi, "In Faire Cognito" and in fact I learned that Audubon wrote in his journals, nearly every evening by candlelight. There was so much more to this gentleman who walked this earth two hundred years ago, I could hardly wait to begin!


That spring, the Biltmore Forest was alive with birds darting from tree to tree accompanied by an orchestral cacaphony of beautiful song. In my cabin in Asheville I began to write. I focused on what life in the forest was like for Audubon, as the lyrics and melodies flowed like a faucet, pouring from a power greater than myself. The information traveled through my pen, onto whatever scraps of paper I could grab. It was like a glorious expression of art with the master of creation guiding me along and I couldn't write fast enough. I didn't question, I just wrote. I later would plunk out the notes on my glockespiel or my piano, singing out the songs I needed to create a musical.

I took a break to study the process in a seminar with my Inner Circle in Hawaii, and returned to workshop Act I in a large theatre with a cast of seven.

I wrote by night, as the cast acted the scripted scenes by day. Everyone was on board as I delivered new scenes daily. With shear teamwork we completed a full Act I by the end of the week. “The universe responds to speed," as I had learned from my mentor Bob Proctor on our recent trip. Especially during inception.


In the fall I headed back down to Florida to work on Act II.

 I studied the romantic period and it's music and learned of the composer, Gottshalk. Although he may not have crossed paths with Audubon in his lifetime, I discovered that his song called "BANJO" which at the time was not yet a known instrument when he composed it, the word BANJO may have been a slang word for 'wanderer.” I thought it was the perfect accompaniment for the Audubon theme that I wanted his character portray.


As I studied songs of the day, Americana became a familiar blend as songs of yore have been woven into the action. My winter backyard was the very inspiration for creating the dialogue and songs for the second act.

I would write as fifty to a hundred roseate spoonbills swooped down and flew up into the trees again, dizzying me into a heady spin of inspiration. Again I could imagine being in Audubon’s shoes. The marshland surrounded by lush live oaks, draped by Spanish moss and exotic flora, is a habitat for the water birds, once known as "The Floridas" during Audubon's time, and his favorite bird land for study. A more perfect writer's backdrop, for my purpose, I could not have imagined.

Lorrie Directing
Lorrie directing

I took my completed Act II back to the mountains and workshopped the play in a ballet studio, coincidentally owned by the actor, Christopher Lynn, who would before long, portray Audubon. Fortuitously I was introduced to the illustrious Stephen Purdy, the music arranger. He orchestrated the songs and directed the vocals as we worked with a larger cast and full script.


Advancing the plays development further, I directed The American Woodsman’s first reading at North Carolina Stage Theater. With many of the original cast, the music was directed by Stephen Purdy, and accompanied by violinist, Maria Potpova. Along with her resonant strikes and sorrowful quivers, married with my melodies and Stephen's clever arrangements, the songs enveloped an epic range of emotions from love to loneliness.

The next direction might have been a full theatre production but 2020 wasn’t having it. The project still had the impetus to continue moving forward. What to do? My radio days were calling...The script was adjusted for broadcast and was recorded with a full cast and script featuring the voices of Christopher Lynn, Alice Jane Eacho and many of the original cast, Echo Mountain Recording Studios, accommodated us by adapting their studio to fit the current protocol. With weeks of recording and months of editing, the Radio play came to life. 


Now that our country has returned to invite a platform for live musical productions, The American Woodsman is ready for the stage!

Currently, in pre-production, The American Woodsman will make its first appearance in the Summer of 2023 at The Dianna Wortham Theatre.

It is a story longing to be told and ready to be heard, by an audience wishing to witness an epic tale of sights, sounds, and experiences. A family-friendly, toe-tapping engagement awaits!

Veteran writer and director of national public radio

Lorrie felt right at home directing The American Woodsman for radio broadcast at Echo Mountain Recording Studios.

Actor's notes from the cast

An Actor's Notes with Christopher Lynn

An Actor's Notes with Alice Jane Eacho

A Young Actor's Notes with Zalea Jane Eacho