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Thursday, November 21, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Features

Keillor And Radio Show Here In June

A firm ticket date has been announced for Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion” at the Spokane Opera House on June 27.

The on-sale date is March 16, 10 a.m. through all G&B; Select-a-Seat outlets. Turns out, a trip to Lake Wobegon can be a bit pricey - tickets will go for $55, $45, $35 and $25 - but not much more than any other live show at the Opera House.

This, of course, will be a live radio broadcast. The show will start at 3 p.m. on June 27, but audience members must be in their seats by 2 p.m.

According to Verne Windham at KPBX-FM, Keillor and the producers have not yet selected guests for the show. The radio station sent in a list of local performers for consideration, but there is no guarantee that any local artists will be selected. Most PHC shows on location have at least some local flavor, though.

Rootin’ for a Spokane Grammy

While watching the Grammy Awards on Wednesday night, don’t forget that one of Spokane’s favorite daughters is up for a Grammy.

Julia Sweeney is nominated for Best Spoken Comedy Album for the CD version of her one-woman show, “God Said, ‘Ha!”’ In this category, she is running with some extremely fast company. The other nominees are Drew Carey, Chris Rock, Garrison Keillor and Bob Newhart.

Sweeney will be in the audience in New York, but if past broadcasts are any indication, this category may not even be announced on the air. If not, the results will at least be flashed on the screen at some point.

“Grease” premiere on sale

Two weeks ago we posed the question: Can “Grease,” a movie that is 20 years old, truly be said to have a “premiere”?

Well, it certainly can have a “Northwest Twentieth Anniversary Premiere,” which is what Paramount is officially calling this big Spokane event.

Official word has now arrived: The gala event will take place March 21, 7 p.m., at the Fox Theater downtown. This will be a week before the rest of the nation sees the re-release of the biggest movie musical ever.

Tickets are now on sale, $12 each, at all Spokane and Coeur d’Alene GTE Wireless offices, at the Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre, and at the three Lotions and Potions locations in River Park Square downtown, in the Spokane Valley Mall and in Coeur d’Alene. Tickets are also available by phone at 1-800-4-CDATIX.

The Helen Burke Travolta Memorial Fund

This “Grease” premiere will be a fund-raiser for the Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre. More precisely, it will raise money for the Helen Burke Travolta Memorial Fund to benefit the Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre.

Helen Burke Travolta is the late mother of John Travolta , the star of 1978’s “Grease,” and Ellen Travolta , who has starred in several Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre productions and who also had a role in “Grease.” Helen Burke Travolta loved acting in community theaters in New Jersey.

“My mother was the beginning of all of this for us,” said Ellen. “She loved the theater, and she was always involved with the community theater and she encouraged all of us to be in it.”

She died in 1978, just as her son was hitting the big time with “Grease” and “Saturday Night Fever.”

So when the national re-release of “Grease” was announced, Ellen and John got together and came up with a plan to honor their mother and also to help out one of their favorite theaters. They took the idea to Paramount, which embraced the idea.

Ellen said she hopes that people will make the “Grease” premiere a dress-up affair, with period “Grease” outfits. She also promised some “surprises” - but that’s all she’ll say for now.

Bach Fest on NPR

Our own Northwest Bach Festival will get some impressive national exposure on Monday.

NPR’s “Performance Today” will air portions of pianist Veronica Jochum’s festival-opening recital at The Met. It was recorded by KPBX-FM, and sent on to “Performance Today.”

The show runs from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday.

St. Patrick’s puffery

Now, here’s a strange little controversy-in-the-making.

Mike Ellis is supremely agitated over the fact that Spokane’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade has become nothing but a big moving billboard for every radio and TV station in the city.

“It’s a shameless, shoddy attempt by the radio stations to take advantage of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade,” he said. “All I see is radio and TV stations, jockeying for position, trying to outdo themselves. I believe it diminishes the quality of the parade.”

Here’s the strange thing: Mike Ellis is the promotions director for KZZU-FM and KXLY’s family of stations, thus one of the biggest culprits.

However, Ellis feels so strongly about it that he has vowed to keep his station’s vans and trucks out of the parade this year.

“Our plan is to be there along the parade route, help them support it, but not to become part of the circus this parade has become,” he said.

He has already talked to Leslie Brennan , the president of the local Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, a volunteer organization which runs the parade. She is sympathetic to his concerns.

Brennan said she hadn’t really thought of the radio and TV stations as a huge problem, but she did agree that overall the parade has grown beyond its original roots as a walking parade celebrating Irish heritage and culture.

The parade has always had a come-one, come-all attitude. There are no entrance requirements. Yet, last year it went over 200 units, and Brennan said the group is beginning to wonder if they might have to limit entries.

Brennan would like to know what people think about the parade, so we at Spotlight are glad to help.

Tell us exactly how you feel about Spokane’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Has it grown too crassly commercial? Has it been overrun by radio and TV stations? Is it fine the way it is? What can be done to improve it?

Give us your opinion by calling our voice mail at 459-5493, sending us e-mail at, or writing us at Jim Kershner, Spokesman-Review, P.O. Box 2160, Spokane WA 99210.

This year’s parade, by the way, will be on March 14.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color Photo

Wordcount: 1058

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