The Granada Theater in Downtown Santa Barbara will host a live comedy and music show by award-winning radio personality and renowned storyteller Garrison Keillor this Wednesday.
Keillor is best known as the creator and host of the Minnesota Public Radio show A Prairie Home Companion, which initially ran on air from 1974 to 1987 and has broadcasted weekly since 1993. Aired nationwide as well as on networks in the U.K., Ireland and Australia, the show has nearly 4 million listeners and features musicians, skits and parodies, fictitious sponsors such as Powdermilk Biscuits and a monologue titled The News from Lake Wobegon.
Keillor also hosts the show The Writer’s Almanac and has written articles for The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, National Geographic, Salon.com and various other outlets. Additionally, he has written several books of stories set in Lake Wobegon, the fictional Minnesota town in which his radio program takes place.
According to David O’Neill, Keillor’s publicist, the event will feature solo performances by Keillor, but Richard Dworsky, who served as the music director and resident pianist for A Prairie Home Companion and composed most of the music for the show, will also join him onstage.
“At this show, you can expect that there will be a lot of singing along with the audience,” O’Neill said. “Garrison will tell a story, and he will have a variety of poems and essay-type things. With Rich there playing music it will definitely be a fun show, and one that the audience will definitely participate in.”
Additionally, O’Neill said Keillor’s wit and charm in live performances never fail to entertain audiences.
“It’s interesting to witness and be a part of a live performance,” O’Neill said. “He’s very funny; he’s very witty, and he will have some things that are happening in the news and whatnot that he incorporates into his shows.”
O’Neill said the major upside to seeing one of Keillor’s live shows, rather than a live radio broadcast, is that there are far fewer time restraints.
“In Prairie Home Companion, we’re always trying to get the Powdermilk spot and the intermission spot and all of that, so this is kind of a relaxed, fun evening,” O’Neill said.
Steven Tepper, the facilities manager at the Granada Theater, said he expects the majority of the audience will be in the “forty-five and up age bracket.” However, even if many students are not necessarily Keillor fans, Tepper said they should come to see a new comedic perspective.
“Keillor has a different point of view than a lot of younger people may have. He has old traditional values, to sum it up best,” Tepper said
According to Tepper, Keillor’s style of delivering his stories and speeches sets him apart from other speakers, as the comic and writer “has a natural flow in the way he delivers speeches” as well as a “very down-home, comfortable listen.”
Tickets for the show may be purchased on UCSB’s Arts and Lectures website as well as the Granada Theater’s website. Signed copies of Keillor’s books will also be available for purchase at the show prior to the event and during intermission.
A version of this story appeared on page 4 of Monday, March 31, 2014’s print edition of the Daily Nexus.