Traverse City Record-Eagle

Arts & Entertainment

August 2, 2013

'A Prairie Home Companion' coming here

INTERLOCHEN — Garrison Keillor has been called many things during the past 39 years — humorist, storyteller, musician, raconteur, the man who revived the art and beauty of American radio with his ever-popular “A Prairie Home Companion.”

An estimated 4 million people tune into the National Public Radio show every week to hear Keillor’s deep baritone voice roll out the latest outlandish down-home tale from Lake Wobegon, the Adventures of Guy Noir, Private Eye, and the Lives of Cowboys.

On Tuesday, the eve before his 71st birthday, he and PHC’s “Radio Romance Tour” will regale the crowd at Kresge Auditorium.

The Interlochen performance this year wraps up the 26-city, coast-to-coast bus tour that started in Spokane, Wash., on July 8. Joining him are comedian Fred Newman, Prairie Home’s irrepressible sound effects artist, plus singer and fiddle player Sara Watkins, pianist Richard Dworsky, guitarist Pat Donohue, violinist and mandolinist Richard Kriehn and “Guy’s All-Star Shoe Band.”

“We all love Interlochen,” Newman said in an interview last week. “Send your children here, if you possibly can, you won’t regret it,” Keillor told the audience in his July 2012 visit to Interlochen Center for the Arts summer arts camp.

The comedian first met Keillor as a guest on the show in 1980 after Newman’s bestselling book “Mouth Sounds” had been released.

“There’s only one live sound-effect gig in the world and that’s Garrison,” said Newman, now a regular. “How cool is that?”

Newman will be a surprise for Prairie Home listeners who have never seen a live show. His sound effects are visual as well as aural. If he’s making an elephant sound, he flaps his hands at the side of his head as elephant ears. If he’s making a trumpet sound, he he holds his hands up.

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