On this week's classic rebroadcast: a show originally from November 2014 at The Town Hall in New York City, New York. Kat Edmonson sings "You've Said Enough" and "Dark Cloud," Vince Giordano and Butch Thompson sit in with Richard Dworsky and the band to pay tribute to pianist and composer James P. Johnson, and Kate Beahen joins Garrison on a few Broadway classics. Plus: Guy Noir heads to City Hall to report a dangerous elevator, and a message from our sponsor Fritz Electronics. In Lake Wobegon, the exiles begin to trickle back home for Thanksgiving.
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Notes from Kat Edmonson about this week's rebroadcast:
I got one rehearsal the day before the show to make sure everything was copacetic between myself and the show's band who would be backing me up, The 43rd St. Regulars. It's rare that I ever feel comfortable handing over my songs and arrangements to another bandleader but collaborating with musical director Richard Dworsky is like taking a ride in a luxury automobile. Everything works and runs like a dream. For that reason, we were free to have fun and make good music instead of worrying about hooking-up as a band. On top of that, we had Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks, a phenomenal big-band, playing on the show with us which was a total thrill! I'd always dreamt of fronting a big-band. I met Vince and his gang at the rehearsal for this show and we've subsequently played a lot together since that day.

This was my first time performing at Town Hall, one of my favorite venues in New York City, and the crowd was rowdy and marvelous that night! Garrison was in top form, as usual. I'm forever in awe of the way he wrote each week's show so seemingly effortlessly and I was grateful that he gave me the returning role of "Kat Mandu" in his famous Guy Noir script. He wrote this character for me during my first time on Prairie Home and in retrospect, I don't know why he did. I didn't have any acting experience that he was aware of but I was over-the-moon excited to be a part of that script -- it was my favorite part of show as far back as when I was a 12-year-old girl listening in on Saturday nights. Performing with Garrison and the mammoth talents of Fred Newman, Sue Scott, and Tim Russell will always be a highlight of my career.
Notes from Butch Thompson about this week's rebroadcast:
My assignment for this show was to play and talk about the music of the great pianist/composer James P. Johnson. This is right up my alley, and because we were in New York, I was able to enlist the great Vince Giordano and Jon-Erik Kellso to make it work. Smooth sailing!
  • Kat Edmonson

    Kat Edmonson wrote her first song when she was nine -- inspiration struck on the bus during a grade school field trip. But by then, the Texas native had already been singing for more than half her life, and she had spent long hours soaking up classic movie musicals while her single mom was at work. Fast-forward two decades and this engaging singer-songwriter's jazz-inspired vocals have made her a favorite on the Austin music scene and beyond. Now based in New York, she released her third album this fall: The Big Picture (Sony Masterworks).
  • Vince Giordano

    Vince Giordano grew up on Long Island playing vintage 78s on his grandmother's Victrola. Maybe that's what fueled his passion for music of the 1920s and '30s. By age 14, he had joined the musicians' union. Later, with Vince on string bass and bass sax, he put together his own band, the Nighthawks, now longtime favorites on the New York jazz scene. The Nighthawk's music from the HBO series Boardwalk Empire has been collected on two albums: Boardwalk Empire, volumes 1 and 2.
  • Butch Thompson

    Pianist and clarinetist Butch Thompson is known worldwide as a master of ragtime, stride, and classic jazz. Born and raised in Marine-on-St. Croix, Minnesota, Butch was already playing Christmas carols on his mother's upright piano by age three, and he led his first professional jazz group as a teenager. For 12 years, he was A Prairie Home Companion's house pianist, dating back to the show's second broadcast, in July 1974. Butch's many albums include Vicksburg Blues, with guitarist Pat Donohue (Red House Records).
  • Kate Beahen

    Originally from Anoka, Minnesota, actor and singer Kate Beahen earned a degree in music theater from Florida State University, spent a few years in New York, and is now based in Minneapolis. In the Twin Cities, she has appeared in productions at the Guthrie Theater, Theater Latte Da, the Ordway Center, and more. Kate also directs and teaches youth workshops across the state.
  • Garrison Keillor

    Garrison Keillor was born in 1942 in Anoka, Minnesota. He went to work for Minnesota Public Radio in 1969, and on July 6, 1974, he hosted the first broadcast of A Prairie Home Companion in St. Paul. He is the host of The Writer's Almanac and the editor of the Good Poems series of anthologies from Viking.
  • Richard Dworsky

    Keyboardist, composer, and arranger Richard Dworsky is music director for A Prairie Home Companion, where he is often called upon to improvise on the spot -- in styles ranging from classical to bluegrass and everything in between. He has accompanied Garrison Keillor on U.S. and European concert tours and has collaborated with numerous other performers, including Al Jarreau and Kristin Chenoweth.
    Chicago-based drummer Tom Hipskind received his undergraduate degree in jazz performance at Northern Illinois University, where he played with the NIU Jazz Ensemble. He went on to do graduate work at DePaul University, and since then, he has performed, recorded, and toured extensively with numerous artists. He is a member of the jazz/fusion group Kick the Cat.
    Trumpeter Jon-Erik Kellso has lived and breathed music since childhood. At 11, he was doing big band work. And by the time he was 17, he had played alongside famed cornetist Wild Bill Davison. Over the years, he has performed with groups such as the New McKinney's Cotton Pickers, J.C. Heard's Orchestra, James Dapogny's Chicago Jazz Band, and Vince Giordano's Nighthawks.
    Bassist Larry Kohut has played on dozens of albums and many film scores, as well as performing with jazz artists such as Patricia Barber, Mel Torme, Vincent Colaiuta, and Tony Bennett. In addition, he is an adjunct faculty member at Columbia College Chicago, where he teaches acoustic and electric bass.
    When Richard Kriehn turned 10, his mom bought him a mandolin; at 19, he'd won the Buck White International Mandolin Contest. He went on to play with the Nashville Mandolin Ensemble and bluegrass group 1946. On the classical side, he has performed with numerous orchestras and was principal second violin for the Washington/Idaho Symphony.
    From bluegrass to big band jazz, Chris Siebold knows his way around a guitar -- or bass or banjo or mandolin or a bunch of other instruments, for that matter. Based in Chicago, he draws from a deep well of influences and styles, and has put his talents to work in ensembles such as Howard Levy's Acoustic Express and Kick the Cat. In 2010, he formed the band Psycles, a large and extremely versatile group whose album Live at Martyrs' was released the following year.
  • Tim Russell

    One minute he's mild-mannered Tim Russell; the next he's George Bush or Julia Child or Barack Obama. We've yet to stump this man of many voices. Says fellow APHC actor Sue Scott, "He does a better Ira Glass than Ira Glass." A well-known Twin Cities radio personality and voice actor, Tim appeared in the Robert Altman film A Prairie Home Companion and the Coen brothers' A Serious Man.
  • Sue Scott

    Since 1992, Prairie Home fans have heard Sue Scott play everything from well-intentioned moms and ditzy teenagers to Guy Noir stunners and leathery crones who've smoked one pack of Camel straights too many. She recently climbed back on stage in a variety of theater roles. She is well known for her commercial and voice-over work on radio and television, as well as movie roles, including the part of "Donna" in Robert Altman's A Prairie Home Companion.
  • Fred Newman

    Sound effects man Fred Newman is an actor, writer, musician, and sound designer for film and TV. Turns out, no one is more surprised than Fred that he's made a career out of doing what he used to do behind the teacher's back -- crossing his eyes, making sounds, and doing voices. He readily admits that, growing up, he was unceremoniously removed from several classrooms, "once by my bottom lip."