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Garrison Keillor's Independence Day Special: A Prairie Home Companion at Tanglewood banner
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Special funding for the program provided by Toyota.


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GARRISON KEILLOR'S INDEPENDENCE DAY SPECIAL: A PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION AT TANGLEWOOD premiered on July 2, 2006 on PBS (check local listings).

In 1969, Garrison Keillor started work for Minnesota Public Radio on a 6 to 9 am show called A PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION -- named after the Prairie Home cemetery in Moorhead, Minnesota. After he began writing an article for THE NEW YORKER magazine about Nashville's Grand Ole Opry, he developed an idea for a new radio show with musical guests and commercials for imaginary products. Keillor hosted the first live broadcast of A PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION, which takes its name from the earlier show, on July 6, 1974. Today, the beloved series, on the air for more than 30 years, is heard by more than 4 million listeners each week on over 580 public radio stations. In June 2006, A PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION reached the silver screen in Robert Altman's movie adaptation, featuring an all-star ensemble cast. GREAT PERFORMANCES will telecast the program's Independence Day weekend radio broadcast from Tanglewood to a prime-time television audience, with Keillor and series regulars Sue Scott, Tim Russell, Fred Newman, and the Guy's All-Star Shoe Band joined by special guests the Hopeful Gospel Quartet, the Wailin' Jennys, and Meryl Streep.

Although the radio show is based at the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul, Minnesota for its live broadcasts, A PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION frequently goes on the road with stops at venues throughout the United States -- including Tanglewood, in western Massachusetts, which first hosted the program in 2000 -- as well as to international destinations, most recently The National Theater in Reykjavik, Iceland. Learn how the radio parodies that are a mainstay of the program came about and contribute to the show's appeal in the essay by author Judith Yaross Lee.

Special funding for the program was provided by Toyota.



Top banner photos: Meryl Streep, cast of A PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION (photo by Dana Nye), and Garrison Keillor (photo by Joe Sinnott-Thirteen/WNET).

Sign at Tanglewood's maingate

Tanglewood is the Boston Symphony Orchestra's summer home (photo by Michael Lutch).

The Hopeful Gospel Quartet

Members of the Hopeful Gospel Quartet.

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The program is not available on VHS or DVD.


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