MINNEAPOLIS – Humorist Garrison Keillor won’t be taking a summer vacation.
Instead, the creator and host of “A Prairie Home Companion” kicks off a 26-city Radio Romance Tour next week.
Keillor wraps up the current season of his popular public radio variety show on Saturday from Tanglewood in Massachusetts. Then he’s launching his coast-to-coast bus tour Monday in Spokane.
Keillor plans 27 concerts, from Washington to Maine. The shows will not be broadcast.
Keillor will be joined by comedian Fred Newman, who does sound effects, and pianist Richard Dworsky and the Guy’s All-Star Shoe Band featuring guitarist Pat Donohue and violinist and mandolinist Richard Kriehn. The shows will run more than two hours and will offer duet singing, with either singer Aoife O’Donovan or singer and fiddle player Sara Watkins.
There also will be such “Prairie Home” staples as commercials for fake sponsors like Powdermilk Biscuits, Guy Noir Private Eye and the latest News from Lake Wobegon.
“The summer tour is a show that I carpenter together from things that I remember liking a lot over … the last 20 years or so, and piecing these all together,” Keillor told the Associated Press in a telephone interview last month.
Keillor said that during intermissions, he and either O’Donovan or Watkins, depending on the date, will stroll into the audience with handheld microphones to sing duets.
“Some people sing with us and other people just go to the toilet,” Keillor said.
Keillor has done previous summer tours and said he likes the activity.
“Sitting on the porch with a lemonade is a very nice idea. But what will I do on the porch after 15 minutes that is less interesting?” he said.
The tour wraps up Aug. 6 in Interlochen, Mich., the day before Keillor’s 71st birthday. The next season of “Prairie Home” opens in mid-September at the Fitzgerald Theater in downtown St. Paul.
“A Prairie Home Companion” draws more than 4 million listeners on more than 600 public radio stations each week. The show celebrates its 40th anniversary next year.
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