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How Are We Coping With Self Isolation: Insight From Around the Country And The World With Renn Woods

How Are We Coping With Self Isolation: Insight From Around the Country And The World With Renn Woods

Renn Woods is a legendary icon in stage, TV and film.  She is an amazing vocalist, songwriter and talented, successfully produced playwright. As a child star, Renn is best known for her roles as Fanta in the Emmy Award-winning TV mini-series “Roots,” and her unforgettable interpretation of “Aquarius” in Milos Foreman’s movie musical “Hair.” 

Gifted with natural talent and first-hand instruction by Lee Strasberg, Renn played Dorothy in the first national Broadway tour of  “The Wiz.” She returned to that very same theatre, the Ahmanson in Los Angeles, to the same kind of reception, years later in “Caroline, or Change” (the role of “The Moon”) – starring with Ben Platt, and Tonya Pinkins.

Actors Ren Woods & Ben Harney in a scene fr. the National tour of the Broadway musical “The Wiz”.

Renn’s own musical, “SOLD: Renn Woods in Concert,” continues to earn her respect as a writer. The Kennedy Center’s KCATF Program chose her play as one of 18 plays (out of 2,000 reviewed) to be developed.

Renn Woods in Roots

As a singer, songwriter, she has released music with Columbia Records, Elektra and RCA Victor – with her group Sunday’s Child and as a solo artist. She has recorded in-studio sessions with many artists, including Earth, Wind & Fire and Prince. Renn was asked to write a song for the late Robert Altman when he was honored by The Malibu Celebration of Film with The Courage Award. She called it “Ode To Altman” and performed it for him and 150 film stars at The Magic Castle, to a standing ovation. She was chosen by Bob Iger CEO of Disney as the vocalist for the prestigious Legends Awards Ceremony, inducting Sir Elton John.

Renn began singing at the age of six. By age ten, she and two girlfriends had taken the show business world by storm. Calling their trio, Sunday’s Child, the young teens were adored by such legendary celebrities as George Carlin, Sammy Davis, Jr. and Johnny Carson. The trio toured the world, performing the very last tour of duty with Bob Hope in Vietnam. Oscar winning director Robert Zemeckis chose to include a photograph of that Christmas performance with Renn and Mr. Hope in his beloved feature film “Forest Gump,” grossing 329 million and counting.Other film credits include: “Crazy World,” “Walker,” “Juvie,” “Nine to Five” (with Jane Fonda), “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” (with Whoopi Goldberg), “The Jerk,” “A Perfect Couple,” “Marshal Law,” “Xanadu,” “The Brother From Another Planet,” “Hair,” “Car Wash,” “Youngblood,” “Beer,” “Sparkle,” and “Forrest Gump” (Director’s cut). Ms. Woods’ TV credits include starring roles in “Detention: Johnson High” (MOW)  “Beauty and the Beast” (series regular with Ron Pearlman), “Roc,” “Gabriel’s Fire” (with James Earl Jones), “N.Y.P.D. Blue,” (produced by Mark Tinker), “Sabrina The Teenage Witch,” and “UNSUNG.” Renn is currently recording her first American Songbook CD.

T2C: How are you dealing with home containment in (Your town) in Pennsylvania ? 

Renn Woods: How am I doing? Today is a good day. This is very similar to grief. It comes in waves and once you’ve been there U know to
ride it out…

T2C: What would you say is the difference of being in self lockdown between Pennsylvania and LA?

Renn Woods: PA is vastly different from LA without a Pandemic, But both are home to me and I make the best of it.

Renn Woods in Roots

T2C: What have you been able to accomplish in this time?

Renn Woods: Learning to sign. I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of giving voice to the voiceless and sound to the ones without hearing. I think I got that way from time with the one and only Gordon Davidson. While he was developing Children of a Lesser God. Still my theatre IDOL!  

I’ve always loved language. And both Spanish and French are so beautiful. So I’m perfecting my Spanish and French

Renn Woods in Car Wash

T2C: What has this time stopped you from accomplishing?

Renn Woods: About 15 Pounds! LOL I wear my mask when at home not to keep safe from Covid. To keep safe from the cookies in the kitchen! 

Renn Woods clip – Jumpin Jack Flash with Whoopi Goldberg from Step Forward Entertainment on Vimeo.

T2C: What kind of emotions does this time bringing out of you?

Renn Woods: Emotions? I’m thinking… MAD PASSION 4 Andrew Cuomo! I had no idea how deeply in love we truly must be! LOL …. STOP IN THE NAME OF LOVE! Lol. Yes, I’m kidding BUT that guy inspires me. And maybe I’m a sentimental fool here, but I met Bobby Kennedy in the 4th grade.  He was on the campaign trail and I was on the Merry-G-Round (True story) We fell in love as well! LOL  Gov Cuomo is my Bobby Kennedy. He makes me want to believe we can do anything. Even now…

T2C: If you were to equate this time to a song or song cycle what would it be? 

Renn Woods: Joni Mitchell – “The Circle Game”
“And the seasons they go round and round and the painted ponies go up and down, we’re captive on a carousel of time. We can’t return we can only look behind from where we came, and go round and round and round in ….The Circle Game’

T2C: What message would you like to give the world right now?

Renn Woods: Stop hating each other. And remember your life’s expiration date is REAL! Are you living’ it right???

Renn Woods

T2C: What is the first thing you will do when we are no longer self-quarantined? 

Renn Woods: Steam, sauna and massage!

T2C: What are the things that are getting you through this time?

Renn Woods: Music that gets me  – wanna get up on the living room floor – shaking it to the East and shaking it to the West.  “A born IKETTE” 
Tina Turner ” Addicted TO LOVE” or The Stones “Can’t U hear me knockin”?

I read a lot of Sherman Alexie and I often watch George Lopez, b4 we go to sleep. Because he makes me laugh really hard. A precious thing these days…

Renn Woods in CENTERSTAGE’s production of Tony Kushner and Jeanine Tesori’s Caroline, or Change. Photo © Richard Anderson.

T2C: What haven’t we asked you that you would like to say?

Renn Woods: IS THERE A VACCINE???? IS THERE A VACCINE IS THERE A VACCINE??? AMEN!

To learn more about Renn Woods go here www.rennwoods.com

To contact Renn fansallovertheworld@gmail.com

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Suzanna, co-owns and publishes the newspaper Times Square Chronicles or T2C. At one point a working actress, she has performed in numerous productions in film, TV, cabaret, opera and theatre. She has performed at The New Orleans Jazz festival, The United Nations and Carnegie Hall. She has a screenplay and a TV show in the works, which she developed with her mentor and friend the late Arthur Herzog. She is a proud member of the Drama Desk and the Outer Critics Circle and was a nominator. Email: suzanna@t2conline.com

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