American author, storyteller, humorist, columnist, musician, satirist and radio personality Garrison Keillor is best known as the host of "A Prairie Home Companion," a radio variety show that features tongue-in-cheek drama, comedy sketches, music and Keillor's signature monologue, "The News from Lake Wobegon."
Host Keillor and his "A Prairie Home Companion" Summer of Love Tour will make a stop at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 26, at the Britt Pavilion in Jacksonville. It will be joined by folk and bluegrass artist Sara Watkins of Nickel Creek, the Guy's All-Star Shoe Band and sound-effects man Fred Newman, along with Guy Noir and Dusty and Lefty.
The first broadcast of "A Prairie Home Companion" was July 6, 1974, at the Janet Wallace Auditorium at Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minn. Admission was $1 for adults and 50 cents for kids. Audience members were scant, but Keillor and his team broadcast about 500 live shows from the venue until March 4, 1978, when the show moved to The World Theater, a crumbling building that was one plaster crack away from the wrecking ball. Now fully renovated and renamed The Fitzgerald, the theater is the show's home base.
"A Prairie Home Companion" took a break starting in 1987. Two years later, it was back — based in New York and called the American Radio Company of the Air. But there's no place like home. So in 1992, it was back to Minnesota and, soon after, back to its old name, "A Prairie Home Companion."
Keillor and his troupe have had plenty of adventure. There have been broadcasts from Canada, Ireland, Scotland, England, Germany, Iceland and almost every one of the 50 states, along with a wide range of performers, standing ovations and stares of bewilderment.
Today, "A Prairie Home Companion" is heard by millions of listeners each week on hundreds of public radio stations, as well as abroad on America One and the Armed Forces Networks in Europe and the Far East.
At the Britt show in Jacksonville, Keillor will walk through the audience for a sing-along of "Unchained Melody" and "Can't Help Falling in Love with You." This is a non-broadcast performance.
Tickets cost $39 for lawn seating, $34 for ages 12 and younger. Reserved seating and premium lawn seating for this performance are sold out. See www.brittfest.org or call the box office at 541-773-6077.