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  • Jun. 3, 2005
  • Nation's Most Popular Radio Variety Show Makes Bowl Debut


    Generously sponsored by Pasadena Showcase House for the Arts; media support provided by KPCC 89.3 FM

    America's favorite storyteller, Garrison Keillor, brings the nation's most popular radio variety show to the Hollywood Bowl for a live performance of A Prairie Home Companion on Friday, June 3 at 8 p.m. For the first time at the Bowl, Keillor and special guests - acoustic guitarist Leo Kottke, the energetic Old Crow Medicine Show, vocalists Karan Casey, Maude Maggart, Odetta, and Prudence Johnson, pedal steel guitarist Greg Leisz, and fiddler Peter Ostroushko - bring to life the comedy sketches, music, stories and imaginary product sponsors fans have loved for the last 31 years in a special taping at the legendary venue, recently named the "Best Outdoor Concert Venue" at the 16th Annual Pollstar Concert Industry Awards.

    The Bowl performance of A Prairie Home Companion includes Keillor's signature monologue "The News from Lake Wobegon" and familiar skits like "The Adventures of Guy Noir" featuring regular cast members Tim Russell, Sue Scott, Fred Newman and more. Beginning with the trusted Tishomingo Blues, a variety of music genres is performed throughout the show by Guy's All-Star Shoe Band.

    Airing live every Saturday night from 6-8 p.m. ET, A Prairie Home Companion is now in its 31st year of production and heard by more than 4 million listeners each week via 580 public radio stations in the United States, and abroad on America One and the Armed Forces Networks in Europe and the Far East. The program is heard locally on KPCC 89.3 FM. The June 3 performance will be taped and broadcast on Saturday, June 4 during the radio station's normal airing of A Prairie Home Companion.

    GARRISON KEILLOR is the host and writer of A Prairie Home Companion and The Writer's Almanac heard on public radio stations across the country and the author of more than a dozen books, including Lake Wobegon Days, The Book of Guys, Love Me and Homegrown Democrat. He was born in Anoka, MN, in 1942 and graduated from the University of Minnesota. He lives in St. Paul with his wife and daughter.

    Waterford-born singer KARAN CASEY recently released her new album, Chasing the Sun in April. Largely recorded at her home in Co. Cork, Chasing the Sun uncovers Karan's fine talent for songwriting and her sensitive approach to age-old themes such as love and oppression. Although self-written songs make up half the album, alongside a trio of great songs by Barry Kerr (a young musician from Co. Armagh) and one by Robbie O'Connell, Karan hasn't abandoned her first love of traditional singing. Her unique interpretations make you listen with new ears to the older songs. Karan is joined on the album by her long standing band - Niall Vallely (with whom she co-produced the album), Robbie Overson, Paul Meehan and Ewen Vernal. Chasing the Sun is sure to build on the success of Karan's previous albums, which have garnered numerous awards as well as widespread critical acclaim.

    PRUDENCE JOHNSON'S 25-year career in music has taken her from nightclubs and honky-tonks to Carnegie Hall, from the theater stage to the Silver Screen (Robert Redford's A River Runs Through It), from the Midwest to the Middle East. Her ten album releases include Little Dreamer, a collection of international lullabies, Moon Country, which features the music of Hoagy Carmichael, and S'Gershwin, a collaboration with pianist Dan Chouinard. She recently collaborated with four Minnesota composers to create A Girl Named Vincent, a presentation of the poetry of Edna St. Vincent Millay set to music, to be released on CD this year. She is a 2001 recipient of the McKnight Artists Fellowship for Performing Musicians, and enjoys a steady schedule of concert appearances across the country.

    LEO KOTTKE is profoundly original, a little cantankerous perhaps; his quick wit is matched by his astounding virtuosity on the six- and 12-string guitars. For the past three decades, Kottke has been indefatigable in his pursuit of a unique musical vision that has placed him among the foremost acoustic guitar stylists of our time. Kottke's ability to embrace folk idioms and pop melodies as readily as he assimilates jazz and classical influences makes him unique among guitar virtuosi.

    GREG LEISZ, pedal steel guitar, is what they call in the trade a "first call" player. When not on the road he's one of L.A.'s busiest session players; his credits include Joni Mitchell, Emmylou Harris, the Ventures, Shawn Colvin, Sheryl Crow, Lucinda Williams, Beck, Joe Cocker, and more recently Willie Nelson, Los Lobos, Brian Wilson, Jackson Browne, and Bill Frissell, to name a small fraction. He has also made a name for himself as a producer, with albums like Rosie Flores' Rockabilly Silly, Matthew Sweet's In Reverse, The Rose of San Juaquin for Tom Russell, and Ash Grove for Dave Alvin. Best known for tasteful daredevil lap and pedal-steel playing, he is equally skilled at acoustic and electric guitar, mandolin, and Dobro. He has played on most of k.d. lang's albums since 1989 and just got back from a world tour with her that hit Europe, Australia, and Japan. About Greg Leisz, lang says: "He has single-handedly liberated pedal steel from the bondage of country."

    MAUDE MAGGART comes from a line of musical women. At the age of 15, her grandmother made her Broadway debut in George White's Scandals of 1926. Her parents are Broadway veterans as well, and her sister is the singer and songwriter Fiona Apple; they were raised in upper Manhattan, around 125th Street. Maude began her cabaret career in Los Angeles in 2001 at the Gardenia in Hollywood, and in the short time since then she has been booked into the high-tone environs of the Royal Room in Palm Beach, the Plush Room in San Francisco, and Schroeder's Cabaret in San Diego, and, back home in Manhattan, at the Oak Room at the Algonquin, Danny's Skylight Room, and Feinstein's at the Regency. This August, Maude will return to play the Gardenia in Hollywood. Maude has generated feature stories and high critical praise wherever she's performed, and in April 2005 was the recipient of two MAC awards. Her voice has been described as haunting, mysterious, ethereal, and heartbreaking. But it is her ability to sing the songs of her grandmother's time "in a voice that we haven't heard in sixty years," as Andrea Marcovicci put it, that separates her from her contemporaries.

    FRED NEWMAN worked for Newsweek magazine in New York for a short while before leaving and recording MouthSounds, a tongue-in-cheek guide to noise making now in its 10th printing. He began his work in television as the host of Livewire, a talk show for teenagers on Nickelodeon, before hosting 6 seasons of the popular Mickey Mouse Club, for which he won Cable ACE Awards. He has created voices and sounds for dozens of movies including Gremlins 1 and 2, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Cocoon, and others, and has been featured on The David Letterman Show. One of his most popular characters, Lurleen Cheatwood, was a regular on the CBS Morning Program. Currently, Fred is the original sound designer and music composer for the hit animated series Doug on both Nickelodeon and Disney/ABC.

    ODETTA is a 1999 recipient of the National Medal of the Arts and Humanities from President and Mrs. Clinton, the National Visionary Award from the Kennedy Center, the first Duke Ellington Fellowship Award from Yale University, Lifetime Achievement Award from the Library of Congress, the International Folk Alliance, and the World Folk Music Association, and Presidente d'Honeurs from the Cognac (France) Blues Festival, as well as Grammy and W.C. Handy Award nominations, in addition to numerous Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degrees from various universities. Odetta was born in Birmingham in 1930. From there, her family moved to Los Angeles, where she began studying classical voice. In 1944 she began a four-year association performing at the famed Turnabout Theater in Hollywood, and in 1949 she joined the road touring company of Finian's Rainbow. While the show performed in San Francisco she became exposed to folk music. In 1950, she made her first professional appearance as a folk singer at San Francisco's "Tin Angel." Those present said she seemed destined to become a cultural force. She has released dozens of recordings in the decades since. As a leading voice of social activism around the world, she participated in the Civil Rights marches in Selma, at the 1963 and 1983 Marches on Washington, and on President Kennedy's Civil Rights TV Special "Dinner With the President." In 1995, she was invited to Beijing, China as an Elder to the International Women's Conference. To this day, she remains a revered voice of social activism around the world.

    OLD CROW MEDICINE SHOW met in New York and embarked on their first tour in 1998, a loose trip through Canada, played mostly on street corners. They landed in the hills of western North Carolina, living in "all sorts of dilapidated structures: wood and steel, some on blocks and some on wheels." They were busking in front of a drug store in Boone, NC, when a woman asked them if they'd be there long enough for her to go get her father. They would, and her father was Doc Watson, who invited them to play at his annual Merlefest. This led to an invitation to play street style in the plaza in front of the Grand Ole Opry House; they moved to Nashville and played on the Opry main stage in 2001. Since then they've been seen on CMT and in three documentary films, and toured with Marty Stuart and Merle Haggard. They play pre-WWII music with the sort of reckless drive one might expect from musicians raised under the influence of Nirvana, Public Enemy, and AC/DC.

    PETER OSTROUSHKO grew up in a musical community, Ukrainian Northeast Minneapolis as it used to be called, and he learned to play a number of instruments early on. He was hired in high school to compose and play the music for a one-man staging of A Christmas Carol, at the Children's Theater School. In the 30 years since that beginning he has been sideman to and traveled with the very famous, been a session player on three or four hundred CDs, has written and produced nine of his own albums and has composed works performed by the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Minnesota Sinfonia, the Kremlin Chamber Orchestra, and the symphony orchestras of both Rochester and Des Moines. He's written film scores for Ken Burns' documentaries Lewis & Clark and Mark Twain and has recently completed a new soundtrack, released on Red House, for Minnesota: A History of the Land. He is a musician's musician and has a press kit filled with superlatives; everything from "solemn grace" and "joyfully funky" to "breathtaking, technically brilliant music." But Jethro Burns put it best when he said: "Go out of your way to see Pete."

    TIM RUSSELL uses his many voices for radio and television commercials. He's heard weekday mornings from 5-9 a.m. as Entertainment Editor on 830 WCCO Radio. He's been voted "Best Radio Host" by Mpls/St. Paul Magazine, and "Outstanding Broadcast Personality" by the Minnesota Broadcasters Association. This is his 10th season as a regular on A Prairie Home Companion.

    A Prairie Home Companion cast member SUE SCOTT'S connection with Minnesota Public Radio started 16 years ago when she was cast to perform multiple character roles for various local and national MPR broadcasts. When Garrison Keillor returned to St. Paul with A Prairie Home Companion in 1992, Sue joined the cast and has been there ever since. Sue has also performed on celebrated theater stages throughout the Twin Cities and the Midwest and is a veteran voice-over talent who can be heard frequently on radio and TV.

    One of the largest natural amphitheaters in the world, with a seating capacity of nearly 18,000, the HOLLYWOOD BOWL has been the summer home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic since its official opening in 1922, and in 1991 gave its name to the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, a resident ensemble that has filled a special niche in the musical life of Southern California. The 2004 season introduced audiences to a revitalized Hollywood Bowl, featuring a newly-constructed shell and stage and the addition of four stadium screens enhancing stage views in the venue. To this day, $1 buys a seat at the top of the Bowl for many of the Los Angeles Philharmonic's concerts. While the Bowl is best known for its sizzling summer nights, during the day California's youngest patrons enjoy "SummerSounds: Music for Kids at the Hollywood Bowl," the Southland's most popular summer arts festival for children, now in its 37th season. Attendance figures over the past several decades have soared: in 1980 the Bowl first topped the half-million mark and close to one million admissions have been recorded. In February 2005, the Hollywood Bowl was named Best Major Outdoor Concert Venue at the 16th Annual Pollstar Concert Industry Awards; it is no wonder that the Bowl's summer music festival has become as much a part of a Southern California summer as beaches and barbecues, the Dodgers, and Disneyland.


    FRIDAY, JUNE 3, 2005 at 8 PM

    HOLLYWOOD BOWL, 2301 N. Highland Ave. in Hollywood

    A Prairie Home Companion


    KARAN CASEY, vocalist

    PRUDENCE JOHNSON, vocalist

    LEO KOTTKE, acoustic guitar

    GREG LEISZ, pedal steel guitar

    MAUDE MAGGART, vocalist

    ODETTA, vocalist



    Generously sponsored by Pasadena Showcase House for the Arts; media support provided by KPCC 89.3 FM

    Tickets ($1 - $92) are on sale now at the Hollywood Bowl Box Office, by calling Ticketmaster at 213.480.3232, at all Ticketmaster outlets (Robinsons May, Tower Records, and Ritmo Latino locations), or online at Groups of 12 or more may be eligible for a 20% discount, subject to availability; call 323.850-2050 for further details.
    For general information or to request a brochure, call 323.850.2000.

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  • Contact:

    Sabrina Skacan, 213.972.3408; photos: 213.972.3034