I had the pleasure of seeing the LIVE broadcast of the radio program, A Prairie Home Companion. New York’s Town Hall, on 43rd Street, was the location and it was a wonderful experience. The stage is littered with sound equipment, music stands, cables and people wandering around. It was radio, you see, and it didn’t matter what it looked like!
The longtime host, Garrison Keillor, came out 15 minutes early to warm up the audience with a couple of charming and funny songs. With 10 seconds left, the audience fell dead quiet as the stage manager raised his hand. The ON THE AIR light came on, the stage manager cued the band to play the familiar opening theme and the audience erupted with wild cheering and applause…you couldn’t hear Garrison singing.
It was all remarkable: a very SLY throwback to an earlier time, but edgy with a wonderful Donald Trump imitator, an acapella singing group, comedy skits and a fantastic rendition of a Brahm’s concerto by pianist, Jeremy Denk. There was a young wildlife biologist who does incredible animal noises…She did 3 different kids of owls!!! The two-hour show was over in an instant. Way too soon.
This is my second time seeing the show. I saw it some years ago with my friend, Larry Friedberg, who said, as he viewed the crowd waiting outside the theater, that it wasn’t so much a radio show, as it was a lifestyle. PHC is an acquired taste (ask my kids)…one of those things you either get or don’t get.