“CRITIC’S PICK! Music is a collective memory, calling across time, singing from the soul. Nowhere is this more evident than in the music we call “folk” — the sounds of immigrants, slaves and natives, sung in fields, homes and churches and further popularized on concert stages. These songs have been compiled into a warm, embracing, communal experience that goes by the name Lonesome Traveler. The [cast] is a multitalented bunch, some with Broadway experience, others part of the area’s cafe music scene. All contribute at least a bit of instrumental accompaniment and some swap impressively among an array of instruments and techniques. Listen closely and you can hear long-ago voices of Europe, Africa and the Americas, channeled through a joyous commingling of voices and instruments, each voice retains its individuality yet twines with others to create a more glorious whole. It is, in a way, an expression of an ideal America.

Los Angeles Times

“…familiar songs prettily sung. It sounds great, played and sung by a skilled cast that encourages the audience at 59E59’s Theater A to sing along…illuminating…revelatory…achingly beautiful.”

-New York Times

“WOW! There’s a hootenanny down yonder in Laguna Beach these days as the Laguna Playhouse presents the Rubicon Theatre production of Lonesome Traveler, a nostalgic trip down folk music memory lane, from the early part of the 20th Century to the mid-‘1960s, when the screeches of Bob Dylan’s electric guitar at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival signaled the end of an era. The brainchild of Rubicon Artistic Director James O’Neill, who both wrote and directed the revue, Lonesome Traveler stars a supremely talented cast of nine – about as fine a band of singer-musicians as you’re likely to hear all year…impeccable musical direction by Dan Wheetman…a crackerjack design team. You don’t have to be a music fan to fall under Lonesome Traveler’s spell.

Stage Scene LA

“Performance perfection! JamesO’Neil has created a gem.When the nine charismatic singer/musicians come to the stage,the connection between the audience and the performance is immediate…the truly gifted performers possess remarkable instrumental and vocal versatility…strikes a perfect chord.”


“GO. It will do your heart good! Impressive, talented singers…amusing, creative, and beatific patter… transcendently lovely voices knit the audience into a unified posse that enjoys the whole evening as if a family at a hootenanny after a particularly great Thanksgiving meal.”

– American Thinker

“A truly joyous and uplifting time.“

– Talkin Broadway’s Broadway Reviews

“Writer and director James O’Neil gives us a timeline that entertains and enlightens. The folk baton has been passed with reverence and joy.”

– Times Square Chronicles

“A real, live, hand-clapping, foot-stamping, sing-along hootenanny!” 

– The Leighter Side

“Seven singers of a new generation have mastered folk styles and are able to add their own instrumental accompaniment, bolstered by young [Trevor] Wheetman and James Webb, another multifaceted musician and son of legendary songwriter Jimmy Webb. With solid credentials all around, it’s no surprise that Lonesome Traveler is replete with songs masterfully performed, an infectious mix of spirituals, protests with a beat and hardscrabble ditties with underpinnings of hope…vibrant and compelling…soaring…feel-good favorites with thought-provoking calls to action in a realistic amalgam of what draws people together, and what gives them hope that when they have a meeting of hearts and minds the future is theirs to shape.”

– Ventura County Star


Lonesome Traveler is the wildly popular folk revue penned and directed by James O’Neil. Though steeped in musical tradition and the Great American Songbook, the show feels fresh and vibrant and essential…the authentic performance styles of the cast dovetail so exquisitely with their onstage personas that we seem to be hearing a musical dialogue echoing across the decades.

— The Reporter

“Songs are the lifeblood of a culture. In James O’Neil’s heartwarming new show Lonesome Traveler, the story of 20th-century American folk music is told in song, with a variety of theatrical settings and narrative devices employed to provide a context and bring out each song’s richly layered dynamics. They set out to unearth and energize for a new generation the whole network of associations and feelings implied by participation in the American folk-music movement. With this show, Rubicon has what great folk has always aspired to – a hit you can believe in.

– The Santa Barbara Independent


5 STARS!!! “If you’d like to take a musical journey, there’s none better than the one offered by JamesO’Neil’s LonesomeTraveler.”


“An entertaining, beautifully put-together cavalcade.”

– Woman Around Town

“Spearheaded by the very talented Justin Flagg, the cast includes wonderful musicians and singers. The entire cast brings the music to life with their guitar picking, banjo picking, some playing the ukulele and even a harmonica, accompanied by keyboard and bass fiddle…A rousing bit of entertainment!

“An outstanding production on every level…an engaging, thoughtful, exhilarating musical experience that captures the heart as it makes audience members witnesses and participants in a journey through the musical soul of America. Its two-hour running time is chalk full of proven, toe-tapping folk hits such as “This Land is Your Land,” Puff, the Magic Dragon, “Mr. Tambourine Man,” to mention only few, as well as astounding tributes to the likes of Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, Peter, Paul and Mary and The Kingston Trio. In addition, there is audience participation, impressive multimedia and an amazingly talented cast of acting pros selected by writer/director O’Neil during a multi-city audition process. Each performer is a stellar vocal talent, yet they blend superbly to coat the theatre with a memorably rich blanket of melody. Whatever your age, you will find “the music that made history and the history that made music in James O’Neil’s remarkable Lonesome Traveler to be musically, visually and intellectually rewarding.

Two on the Aisle, The Breeze

Lonesome Traveler finds good company. It took O’Neil four years to write and select the songs arranged by Dan Wheetman and brought to life by the company. Saturday’s opening night reached its zenith when the cast and audience, at first timid, joined in a rousing rendition of “This Little Light of Mine.

Laguna Beach Independent


“A bountiful examination of folk music in its years of mainstream popularity featuring singers who channel the styles of music icons…a musical banquet; engaging, affecting and informative.”

– Lighting and Sound America 


“The show is educational, historical and sounds really pretty…the nine musicians (seven of whom sing) all sound great. Their strumming is flawless, they hit every note and sing with elegance and enthusiasm. There is such a wide range of material in the show that just about anyone with the slightest interest in 20th Century American music will find something to feverishly applaud. The moments of poignancy and good-natured humor elevate Lonesome Traveler from just another musical tribute.

Laguna Beach Patch


“A fun night of music.The nine-performer ensemble is excellent!”

– Theater Pizzazz

“Folk music, that most uniquely American art form, takes center stage at the Laguna Playhouse with the world premiere of Lonesome Traveler. This import from Rubicon Theatre Company is bound to lift audiences’ spirits. Tying it all together is the title character, richly enacted by Justin Flagg, who serves as both narrator and featured performer, tracing the history of folk music through the ages. He’s backed by terrific voices, most notable that of Jennifer Leigh warren, who can hit notes most singers can’t see. Sylvie Davidson sparkles as Mary with Peter and Paul.

Laguna Beach Coastline Pilot

“The show’s seven performers are multi-talented and committed to the material. They include Justin Flagg, an affable guitarist, banjo player and singer who plays the Lonesome Traveler; Anthony Manough, whose Harry Belafonte is one of the evening’s high points, and the electrifying Jennifer Leigh Warren.”

The Orange County Register


“Director O’Neil’s fervent attention to detail pays dividends in this entertaining and inspirational production.”

-Coastline Pilot’

“A fun, catchy, toe-tapping musical. Audience members were singing along, clapping their hands and dancing in their seats…the enthusiasm is contagious.

– Stage Buddy