Special Guests
Saturday, December 7, 1996

Robert Klein was born in the Bronx, graduated from Dewitt Clinton High School and entered Alfred University as a pre-med student. He soon switched his majors to political science and history and, on the side, he performed with the college's acting company. The next year, at the urging of his Alfred University drama professor, Klein attended Yale Drama School. The following autumn, he performed in New York City clubs by night and paid his bills by serving as a substitute teacher by day. In the spring of 1965, Klein was chosen as a member of the troupe for Second City, the famous Chicago improvisational company. When he returned to New York City a year later, he was cast by Mike Nichols in the Broadway musical, Apple Tree. It would be the first of many Broadway shows for Klein. In 1973, Klein released his first album, Child Of the Fifties, which won him a loyal following and a Grammy nomination. That same year, Klein presided over the critically acclaimed The First Annual Robert Klein Reunion, a sold-out performance at New York's Carnegie Hall. Klein returned to Broadway in the hit musical, They're Playing Our Song; his performance won him a 1979 Tony nomination for best actor and a Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award. He's since appeared on countless television shows, including guest-host stints on The Tonight Show and on Saturday Night Live, and he's appeared in many movies, including the recent arts-house hit, Jeffrey. He was the first comedian to appear live on HBO, and he's done six one-man shows for the channel. A few of his early comedy albums have been re-released: Child Of the Fifties and Mind Over Matter (Rhino Records) and New Teeth (CBS Records). When he's not filming or recording or performing on Broadway, Klein can be found on stages across the country doing standup for sold-out houses.

Of Garrick Ohlsson's final Chopin recital at Lincoln Center, New York magazine said, "Chopin-playing in the here and now does not get much better than this." Ohlsson has been devoting performances in the past few years to the complete solo piano works of Chopin, played to sold-out houses across the nation. He will tour to Canada, Europe, and Italy before his 1996-97 season is finished. Ohlsson's far-reaching concerto repertoire embraces far more than Chopin: 70 works for piano and orchestra, ranging from Haydn and Mozart to 20th-century masters. An avid chamber musician, Ohlsson has collaborated with noted ensembles including the Cleveland, Emerson, Takacs, and Tokyo String Quartets and-together with violinist Jorja Fleezanis and cellist Michael Grebanier-is a founding member of the San Francisco-based FOG trio. Ohlsson was born in White Plains, New York. He began studying piano at the age of eight, attended the Westchester Conservatory of Music and at age 13 entered The Juilliard School. He won the top prizes at the 1966 Busoni Competition in Italy and the 1968 Montreal Piano Competition, and then was propelled into worldwide fame with his 1970 Gold Medal triumph at the Chopin Competition in Warsaw. Ohlsson has completed nearly a dozen tours of Poland, where he has become a national hero.

Kate MacKenzie has been a favorite guest of A Prairie Home Companion since 1981. For many years, she was lead singer of Stoney Lonesome, with whom she recorded six bluegrass albums, toured Japan and North America, and was featured in the public television series, Showcase. With the Hopeful Gospel Quartet, MacKenzie has recorded a live album from Carnegie Hall, performed at folk festivals in Scotland and Denmark, and performed on PBS' Austin City Limits. Her work with A Prairie Home Companion has included coast-to-coast tours, farewell and reunion shows, 20 Disney Channel television broadcasts, the 1993 Book of Guys tour, and a recurring dramatic role as Sheila, the Christian Jungle girl (wild, yet pure). Her first solo album, Let Them Talk (Red House Records), was on the National Bluegrass Charts for 10 months. A new album, Age of Innocence (Red House), was just released. MacKenzie's success was noted in The New York Times, which grouped MacKenzie in "the new wave of strong female voices."

Robin and Linda Williams have been frequent guests on A Prairie Home Companion since 1976. Beyond A Prairie Home Companion, the Williamses have made numerous television appearances on the Nashville Network's Fire on the Mountain, Nashville Now, and Music City Tonight. And the duo has been heard on other nationwide radio programs: the Grand Ole Opry has welcomed Robin and Linda Williams as guests, as have Mountain Stage and NPR's All Things Considered. With more than a dozen recordings and three musicals to their credit, they are considered to be among the finest songwriters in the folk-country tradition. Their most recent albums include: a gospel album, Good News; Sugar for Sugar, on the Sugar Hill label; and Robin and Linda Williams and Their Fine Group-Live, Sugar Hill's re-release of Strictly Country Records' recording, Live in Holland. As part of the Hopeful Gospel Quartet, the duo recorded a live album from Carnegie Hall (produced by Chet Atkins, on Sony Records), toured across the United States and Europe, and been featured on PBS' Austin City Limits.

Old Sweet Songs: A Prairie Home Companion 1974-1976

Old Sweet Songs

Lovingly selected from the earliest archives of A Prairie Home Companion, this heirloom collection represents the music from earliest years of the now legendary show: 1974–1976. With songs and tunes from jazz pianist Butch Thompson, mandolin maestro Peter Ostroushko, Dakota Dave Hull and the first house band, The Powdermilk Biscuit Band (Adam Granger, Bob Douglas and Mary DuShane).

Available now»

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