It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of the legendary radio program “A Prairie Home Companion”, so you can imagine how excited I was to be able to attend “An Evening with Garrison Keillor”. Keillor, who is the star and creator of “A Prairie Home Companion”, gave a performance which included whimsical tales of Lake Wobegon, his memorable high school experiences and his thoughts on aging.
Upon entering the Music Center at Strathmore, I was amazed to see this solitary figure onstage, walking to and fro as he told a variety of stories. One of his stories included an incident in shop class, which involved him sitting on a work bench that had a bit of acid on it, which caused a hole to burn into his pants. He made sure to point out that the pants were hand-me-downs from his sister and that he had to pull part of his shirt out of his pants just to cover the hole. Such an incident resulted in stares and a few smiles when he went to another class not long after.
He later recalled a story about a man who ran afoul (no pun intended) of a skunk who sprayed him while on a run and that the man’s wife refused him entry into their home, but left a bar of soap and tomato juice because “she could smell him” from afar. The wife is said to have asked, “did you plan on staying here for the night?”. After several stories and reenactments of various incidents, he closed out with the songs “Happy Trails”, “Good Night Ladies” and “Sweet Caroline”. He quipped that since there were no backup singers available, he wanted us to be the closing act. The audience sang along with him, many of them knowing these songs by heart. Admittedly, I only knew the chorus from two of the songs.
Keillor’s quick wit and light-hearted humor made the event a fun-filled one that the audience loved. The fact that he encouraged the audience to interact with him in his closing songs was amazing and heartfelt. If the opportunity arose, I’d go see him perform again. If you want to catch future performances, check out his website at www.garrisonkeillor.com and see if he’s performing in a theater near you. You will be so happy you did.
Final Grade: A