Garrison Keillor Gets Ready To Leave The 'Prairie Home Companion' Stage
Garrison Keillor is wrapping up his long career as the host of “A Prairie Home Companion.”
Here & Now‘s Robin Young went to Tanglewood in western Massachusetts to shine a spotlight on his long-time cast, Sue Scott, Tim Russell and Fred Newman.
Listen to our conversation with sound effects artist Fred Newman
Russell on how it feels to be near the end
“It’s bittersweet, so we’re all a little bittersweet about this closing adventure, I’ve loved every second of it.”
Keillor on the other members of the show
“Well, they each bring some wonderful things to this. First of all, they know when to act and when not to act. And so they need almost no direction. And each of them has a number of tricks that a writer can call on, and when you are writing on deadline, this is so useful.
First of all, Fred does all of the sound effects. You’re able to call on a dolphin, you’re able to call on any sort of gunfire, thunder, lightning, rainfall, so on… Tim does voices. These are so good, you could immediately bring in, you know, the ghost of Humphrey Bogart, you can bring in John Wayne. And then Sue has certain characters, extreme characters, that she does extremely well. So you’ve got all of these tools, and when your imagination runs low as it tends to do, you can call on these things.”
Keillor on if he anticipates missing being the show’s host
“I don’t know, I think I’m just going to go on and do a whole bunch of other things. I really don’t look back. I have left a number of things in my life. I really, I tend not to have much regret at all. Maybe I should. I’ll work on it.”
Newman on the show’s importance
“Some people have said the show is like a secular version of church or something. I actually describe the show as the top of the Sistine Chapel. It, like a lot of things, points just that gap between god and man. The two fingers, the little gap. Garrison points at that little gap all the time.”
Newman on working with Keillor
“It wasn’t until last week where the gravity of it hit. The people on the show, Sue and Tim, they are so extraordinary. But what you can’t know, is the genius of the man. It’s like out of the head of Zeus — he is part here and part in Garrison’s world. And that world is amazing. It doesn’t work by the rules that we have.”
“You come away from a boss you’ve had for 15 years, and usually you see all their weaknesses and all that. I see nothing but just awe. I’m going to miss him terribly.”
Photos From ‘Prairie Home’ At Tanglewood
Robin Young, Here & Now host. She tweets @hereandnowrobin.
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