Saturday, June 9, 2007
"I Love L.A.," "Short People," "You've Got A Friend In Me," "Louisiana 1927," "Every Time It Rains" ... In a career spanning more than 40 years, Randy Newman has written dozens of unforgettable songs and composed a slew of movie scores for Toy Story, A Bug's Life, The Natural and Awakenings, to name a few. In 2002 after a very long streak of Oscar nominations - he won an Academy Award for "If I Didn't Have You" from the film Monsters, Inc. Born into a musical family his uncles Alfred, Lionel and Emil were film composers and conductors Randy Newman was already a professional songwriter at the age of 17. "His body of work is so deep and so rich," an LA Times reviewer recently wrote, "that his performances never shortchange listeners, even when they consist solely of songs several years or decades old."Paula Poundstone
Paula Poundstone began performing at openmic nights back in 1979. These days, she's one of the most enduring standup comics around. She has been honored with two Cable ACE Awards, an Emmy, and an American Comedy Award. Her latest comedy special, "Look What the Cat Dragged In," hit the BRAVO network last fall. Public radio listeners tune in each week to hear her on NPR's news quiz show, Wait Wait Don't Tell Me. In her new book, There's Nothing in This Book That I Meant to Say (Harmony Books), Paula comments on her life its successes, failures and quirks. Among her quips: "I need to know exactly what day I'm going to die so that I don't bother putting away leftovers the night before."Erica Rhodes
Just a tiny kid when she first appeared on A Prairie Home Companion, Erica Rhodes is now a seasoned actor. She studied at Boston University's College of Fine Arts, and she is a recent graduate of the Atlantic Theater Conservatory in New York. With some colleagues, she started The Group B Project, a New York theater ensemble based in Manhattan's West Village. Her acting credits with Group B include "White Russian" and "All in the Timing," an evening of comedic short plays written by David Ives. She appeared Off-Broadway in "Right as Ron," and she toured with TheatreWorksUSA's production of "Ramona Quimby."Martin Sheen
Growing up in Dayton, Ohio, Martin Sheen (born Ramón Gerardo Antonio EstÚvez) always wanted to be an actor. His father thought otherwise, but undeterred, Sheen finally borrowed a few bucks from a local priest and headed for New York. That was in 1959. Now, almost five decades later, he has piled up Emmys, Golden Globes and other awards and accolades for his performances in movies such as Badlands, The Subject Was Roses, Apocalypse Now, The Departed and Bobby, and on television for "Kennedy," "Blind Ambition" and his seven seasons in the role of President Josiah Bartlet on NBC's "The West Wing." He has received many honors for his tireless work as an activist for social and environmental causes, including the César E. Chávez Spirit Award and the Shinnyoen Foundation's Pathfinder's Peace Award.Andy Stein
Andy Stein (violin, saxophone) definitely has far-flung musical leanings, He collaborated with Garrison Keillor to create the opera Mr. and Mrs. Olson, and he has performed with artists such as Itzhak Perlman, Eric Clapton, Smashing Pumpkins, Billy Joel, Tony Bennett, Ray Charles and Bob Dylan.Meta Weiss
Meta Weiss has studied cello since age four and has been on stage almost that long. By the time she was seven, she was performing with several orchestras. Her first solo concert in the Crocker Mansion in Hillsborough, California came at the age of 10, when her performance included the Bach Suite No. III, Beethoven Sonata No. 2 in G minor, and Paganini Variations on One String. Now 20, Weiss is a student at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University where she performs regularly with the Shepherd School Symphony and Chamber Orchestras. Her recent engagements include a recording session and concert in New York City with jazz singer Tammy Brown and guitarist Stanley Jordan.
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).