Close Encounters of the Keillor Kind

Two months ago it was announced that A Prairie Home Companion was coming to Kansas City. Immediately I sent out an email to see if any of my KC friends wanted to go. Sure enough, some of them did and we hurriedly bought up some tickets.

During the two months building up to the show, several of us at work cooked up a scheme to promote one of our clients. After a little investigation about who to contact, we had sent off an email telling the story of Shatto Milk. Surprisingly, the very next day, we received word that PHC would love having our milk backstage for the whole crew to enjoy.

The show was set for Friday, June 22 and we were set to bring some Shatto goodies for rehearsals on both Thursday and Friday.

On Thursday, Andy and I took the product to Starlight Theater. We quickly learned that there was no real schedule and that there really wasn't anyone in charge. Since most everyone loves to eat, we decided that the best bet was to hang out with the caterer. After taking a break and heading back to work, we came back later in the afternoon to set up a table of Shatto products in the green room.

The day didn't go exactly how we had planned – we didn't see, or meet, any of the stars or actors, but at least they could enjoy the milk and cheese. In that respect, our mission was successful.

Friday started off with a bang. We heard from the caterer that the milk was a huge success. There were reports of people taking it up with them to their dressing rooms and not allowing the caterer to take it away when he left. And already that morning, people were asking for more.

We went back that afternoon to replenish the supply and while we were there, we were invited backstage to watch the rehearsal.

There we sat, not 20 feet away from Garrison Keillor and his crew, listening to them rehearse what we were going to hear later evening. After getting up to receive a phone call, I decided to go and check on the milk levels (there were crew members already walking around backstage with glasses full of chocolate milk). When I walked into the green room, there was Mr. Keillor, preparing a plate of food.

I introduced myself and we had a little chit chat. While he gulped down his own glass of chocolate milk (after asking if he could pour me one, too), we made small talk and I told him the story of the Shattos. After he finished his “fantastic” glass of chocolate milk, he opened the skim and put some in his coffee. He said he had to hurry back to work and excused himself.

Rejoining Andy backstage, I told him the story about who I just met and we decided to stick around for a while longer. We were able to listen to the band rehearse several of their songs, listened to the actors preform Guy Noir and had a conversation with Jearlyn Steele. It was an amazing experience.

Later that night a group of us sat near the back of Starlight Theater and watched the radio show live. As hokey as it sounds, I don't think that I remember ever smiling that much for an extended period of time. It was truly incredible to watch so many talented actors and performers in a two-hour timeframe.

If you ever have a chance to see the show live, I highly recommend it. And if you're not a listener of NPR, or the show, you owe yourself a few listens. It's great entertainment and I hope it continues for as long as I do.

+ original post date: June 26, 2007 07:19 AM
+ categories: Family/Friends, KC, Pop Culture, This Is Cool, Work


(comments rss feed)

nice, I love prairie home companion. and to meet Garrison, awesome. now if I could just get Carl Kasell to do my voice mail.

+ author: Jason
+ posted: June 26, 2007 07:54 AM

Uh, wait, I don't think I got that email asking if I was interested. Maybe you need to check your address book. Seriously, I'm Lutheran. PHC is required listening to maintain membership.

+ author: smanley
+ posted: June 26, 2007 10:40 AM

Don't worry, smanley, I didn't get that email either. ;) (But I also don't know what PHC is so would be disqualified by default, I don't think I knew many Lutherans growing up. :) )

+ author: ScooterJ
+ posted: June 26, 2007 10:49 PM

What a great idea. Sounds like the idea worked out well.

I worked for the local affiliate of NPR in college as an audio engineer, and it was very interesting to see the on air personalities. I always like to put a face with a voice. I also got the inside scoop on all that goes on behind the scenes, including the infamous 7 second live program delay and the "cough" / mute button.

+ author: Dustin
+ posted: June 28, 2007 08:41 AM

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