And with those words, I know it’s the weekend. Most of my Saturdays are set aside for the creation of art furniture and to attend an auction where my wife and I buy pieces for the studio that become our next works. As our Saturdays weave their way through the various activities of the day, the constant for each weekend is what I have come to call my “NPR Saturday.”
It starts early with the news, This American Life and it ends late with The Fish Fry. But the most enjoyable part of that day for me is the broadcast of A Prairie Home Companion. I’ve listened for years and have been a huge fan.
So it’s with a great deal of joy that I welcome this Friday’s presentation as the show rolls into Starlight Theatre at 7:00pm, courtesy of the Capitol Federal Concert Series.
The tour is actually the live broadcast of the show and it’s the only remaining live music and sketch comedy/music radio show broadcast nationwide. It’s heard by 4 million people each week on 600 NPR stations. That’s a long way from the dozen people who sat in on the first show.
This year’s tour stars the host of the show and head writer Garrison Keillor and for the Kansas City leg, singer Aoife O’Donovan. Of course all the regulars will be in attendance, musician Rich Dworsky, The Guy’s All-Star Shoe Band featuring Pat Donohue on guitar and Richard Kriehn, who rotates between the violin and mandolin. Guy Noir Private Eye, and Keillor’s monologue, the News from Lake Wobegon, the town where all the women are strong, the men are good looking and the children, above average.
The show started after Keillor was researching a piece on the Grand Ole Opry and came away from that thinking a live variety show with music and comedy might be a good idea. His first broadcast, on Minnesota Public Radio, may have seemed like a failure since only those 12 people were there to witness it, but from those humble beginnings, it grew into what it is today.
The show was suspended by Keillor, in 1987, as he was going through some personal changes in his life. He remarried, traveled, relaxed, but after two years he revived the program in the format it is today.
Outside of the comedy skits, music is the focus of the show. If you have an interest in American Folk, gospel, blue grass, routes style music, you’re going to discover artists on the show you’re not likely run across on your own. Keillor is extremely diverse in his selection of the artists. He gets the biggest names in music but also takes time to feature break out artists, most having had little prior exposure in the national spotlight.
Even though Keillor has a knack for finding the best in up and coming obscure musicians, those musical skills do not necessarily extend to his own vocal prowess. But hey, when you have your own radio show you can sing and harmonize with anyone you choose, and that he does. With less than a great voice, Keillor has sung with the biggest names in the business.
The show is an embodiment of old time radio, complete with sound effects, done on the fly, like they did in the old days. It’s an hour of stepping back in time to a quieter day when life was a little simpler. It’s sure to be a great performance, it always is.
Tickets are still available, give it a listen.
Date: Friday July 19, 2013
Ticket prices: $95*, $65*, $45*, $35*, $20*
Show Time: 7:00 p.m.
Gates Open: 6:00 p.m.
Ticket Info: Tickets for the July 19 show at Starlight Theatre can be purchased online, by phone 816.363.7827 (STAR) or in person at Starlight Theatre Box Office.