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A Prarie Home Companion
Garrison Keillor and A Prairie Home Companion Charms Audience in Charm City
On Saturday, October 13, Garrison Keillor and A Prairie Home Companion (APHC), a weekly live radio variety show, played to a sold-out crowd at Baltimore's Hippodrome Theater thanks to many, many months of persistence by WYPR staff. While APHC often takes its show on the road, this performance was the first time in its 30-plus year history that it played in Baltimore.
In his usual style, Keillor opened with an original ditty highlighting the charms of Baltimore. He praised the beauty of the restored Hippodrome the grand ol' theater where we've never played before and continued on in his rhyming style, noting that Baltimore was home to little houses in a row, home of Edgar Alan Poe. Keillor went on to pay homage to all things Baltimore, including the Inner Harbor, Maryland crabs, Lexington Market's fried chicken, John Waters, and Anne Tyler.
In comparing Baltimore to other cities in which APHC has played, Keillor commended Baltimore for not making the mistake of going too high-class a bit of a backhand compliment, but we kind of like that aspect of our city. He did, however, go on to point out that we also have the distinction of having the only professional sports team named after a figure in a famous poem.
Keillor took the audience through a bit of Baltimore's history by citing some of the more notable people who were born or have lived here from, Dashiell Hammett and Ogden Nash to Thurgood Marshall and Billie Holiday. In a tribute to the late blues singer, vocalist Jearlyn Steele performed a beautiful rendition of Holiday's "God Bless the Child."
Even the popular Guy Noir, Private Eye, was on assignment tracking down a man from "Bawlamer" with amnesia. In his travels around our city, Guy wearing a crab claw necklace purchased in the Inner Harbor encounters H.L. Mencken and has a spirited exchange.
The highlight of the evening was surely legendary songwriter-singer Carole King, who performed vintage favorites including "Natural Woman", "Will You Love Me Tomorrow", "One Fine Day", and "Where You Lead" substituting Baltimore as the city to which she would follow her beloved.
Blues and boogie pianist/saxophonist and singer Deanna Bogart and members of the bluegrass band, The Seldom Scene, also delighted the crowd of 2,200 as well as the 4 million APHC radio broadcast listeners nationwide.