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Contact: David O'Neill
(651) 999-1095

A PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION KICKS OFF 2011 WITH FIVE FUN-PACKED SHOWS AT ST. PAUL'S FITZGERALD THEATER

Garrison Keillor welcomes Nellie McKay, Sara Watkins, Sam Bush, and the return of the APHC Joke Show!

(ST. PAUL, Minn.)—After taking A Prairie Home Companion on the road for a few months, Garrison Keillor and the cast and crew return home to the beautiful Fitzgerald Theater in downtown St. Paul for five shows sure to kick off 2011 in style.

The upcoming Saturday broadcasts from the Fitz are January 8, 15, 22, 29, and February 5 — five shows packed with great music, wonderful guests, and wry humor. All the fun you expect — and maybe some you don't.

January 8: The incomparable Nellie McKay. And a group of young local fiddle players — Catie Jo Pidel and sisters Deena and Sedra Bistodeau — join Guy's All-Star Shoe Band fiddler Richard Kriehn in a stupendous rendition of the old favorite (and fitting) tune "The Eighth of January."

January 15: Nickel Creek alum Sara Watkins; clawhammer banjo player Abigail Washburn; singer-songwriter Tom Brosseau
The audience at the January 15 show will get to see a historic first — a guest host singing "O hear that old piano from down the avenue." Singer and fiddler Sara Watkins, who did a 25-city tour with Garrison, Fred Newman and the Shoe Band last summer, will take over the host duties and Garrison will be a featured guest, appearing as Guy Noir, Lefty, and of course doing the News from Lake Wobegon.

Says Garrison: "I've never gotten to see the show myself; I've always been standing in the wings and thinking about what I'm supposed to do next. For once in my life, I want to stand in the back of the hall and watch for a few minutes. And Sara is a smart and funny and hugely gifted young woman. And the Shoe Band and the Royal Academy of Radio Acting will be there, so she'll have all the support she needs. It'll be fun. And at long last, one person in the world will understand WHAT I GO THROUGH WEEK AFTER WEEK. (Just kidding.)"

January 22: The ever-popular Joke Show returns — penguin jokes, lightbulb jokes, knock-knocks, political, tasteless, and more. Philip Brunelle and the VocalEssence Ensemble Singers add their comical twist.

ATTENTION JOKE LOVERS: Send us a joke. If we use it on the Joke Show, we'll send you the 2011 Prairie Home Joke a Day Calendar. Address: www.prairiehome.org/jokes

January 29: Songbird Heather Masse

February 5: Grammy Award-winning bluegrass multi-instrumentalist Sam Bush

Actress Sue Scott, Tim Russell (the man of many voices), and sound-effects wizard Tom Keith will be on hand, along with the Guy's All-Star Shoe Band, led by pianist Richard Dworsky. And as always, we'll catch up on the news from Lake Wobegon during Keillor's signature monologue.

Tickets are available through Ticketmaster or in person at the Fitzgerald Theater. Minnesota Public Radio members may also order tickets by phone at 651.290.1200.

A Prairie Home Companion is heard on close to 600 public radio stations across the U.S., with a weekly audience that tops 4.3 million listeners. The program can also be heard on the Armed Forces Network Europe, the Far East Network, and in dozens of European cities via the Astra satellite network.

Garrison Keillor is the recipient of Grammy, ACE, and George Foster Peabody awards, and he has been inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His many books include Lake Wobegon Days, The Book of Guys, 77 Love Sonnets, Pilgrims: A Wobegon Romance,and A Christmas Blizzard.

A Prairie Home Companion is produced by Prairie Home Productions and presented by American Public Media. The show is sponsored nationally by General Mills, Inc. and by Ford. Audio clips, scripts, and more information on A Prairie Home Companion can be found online at www.prairiehome.org.

WHAT: A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor

WHO: Garrison Keillor, with actors Tim Russell and Sue Scott, sound-effects ace Tom Keith, and the Guy's All-Star Shoe Band, led by Richard Dworsky. Plus many special guests, including Nellie McKay, Sara Watkins, Heather Masse, Sam Bush, Philip Brunelle and the VocalEssence Ensemble Singers, and lots more.

WHEN: Saturdays, January 8, 15, 22 (Joke Show), 29, and February 5, 2011, 4:45 p.m. CT.

WHERE: The Fitzgerald Theater, 10 East Exchange St. (at Wabasha), downtown St. Paul.

SUBMIT A JOKE: Send us a joke. If we use it on the Joke Show, we'll send you the 2011 Prairie Home Joke a Day Calendar. Address: www.prairiehome.org/jokes

TICKETS: $32, $38, $48 (Minnesota Public Radio members receive a $2 discount). Order online through Ticketmaster.com, call 800.982.2787, or visit any Ticketmaster outlet. The general public may purchase tickets in person at the Fitzgerald box office. MPR members may also order tickets by phone at 651.290.1200. A limited number of rush tickets are sold at 4:15 p.m. on day of show ($15 each, limit of two, cash only).

TUNE IN: Tune in Saturdays to any of hundreds of public radio stations coast to coast (many rebroadcast the show on Sunday). Or listen to a live audio Web stream. Check local listings or go to www.prairiehome.org for specifics.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Go to www.prairiehome.org or contact David O'Neill at 651.999.1095.

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