The Town Hall
New York, NY«archive page
Kate Beahen grew up in Anoka, Minnesota, where she participated in local productions, including Annie Get Your Gun and Les Misérables. She earned a degree in music theater from Florida State University, then moved to New York in the fall of 2009 to pursue an acting career. She is a regular with Mamma Rice ’n’ Friends, a monthly cabaret at Public Assembly in Brooklyn.
Kristin Chenoweth is from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, and how could a city with a poetic name like that not send an artist off to Broadway. She was dancing as soon as she could walk, and her mother remembers her singing herself to sleep. Kristin said, "When I was about 4 we were watching ballet on TV, and I said, 'I want to do that.' My mom went, 'What?'"
She was brought up Baptist and began her singing career in church. She was so good at it she ultimately won a scholarship to the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadephia, after graduating from Oklahoma City University. In Philly she added an "in" to her original name, figuring Kristi might be a little light for opera. When she first arrived in New York she would say "hello" to everyone she met on the street. Made for a tiring day, she said, saying hello to 3,000 people.
She has recently appeared on Broadway in "Charlie Brown," "Steel Pier," and "Epic Proportions,"and Off-Broadway "A New Brain," "Scapin," and the Encores production of "Strike Up The Band." She has won a Tony Award, a Drama Desk Award, the Clarence Derwent Award and the Outer Critics Circle Award. She's taking it all in stride, exactly as you'd expect from a former Miss Oklahoma City University.
Justin Townes Earle
Justin Townes Earle was named for songwriting legend Townes Van Zandt, but he’s quick to advise that “anyone trying to live up to that name is a fool.” That said, Justin has made his own mark as a first-class songsmith. (And he wisely quit following Van Zandt’s hard-living ways years ago.) Raised in Nashville, he now makes his home in New York City. Midnight at the Movies (Bloodshot Records) is his most recent recording.
David Garrison's Broadway credits include Serge B. Samovar in A Day in Hollywood/A Night in Ukraine, for which he received a Tony Award nomination, and the Wizard of Oz in Wicked. But he may be best known as Steve Rhoades on television’s Married With Children. Other TV credits include guest appearances on Law and Order, The West Wing, and the PBS Great Performances presentation of Ira Gershwin at 100: A Celebration at Carnegie Hall.
A recognized authority on American music and musical theater, Rob Fisher spent four seasons leading the Coffee Club Orchestra for Garrison Keillor's American Radio Company. He is creator and artistic director of the annual Lyrics and Lyricist series at the 92nd Street Y. For his work as music director and conductor of the Tony Award-winning Encores! series at New York's City Center, he was presented the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Special Achievement. As guest artist, he has led major symphony orchestras coast to coast.
New York-based singer and songwriter Heather Masse is a member of Canadian supergroup The Wailin' Jennys. She also performs with the Brooklyn outfit Heather and the Barbarians — a band that first formed when the members were students at the New England Conservatory of Music. Her latest solo album, Song Bird, was released last fall on the Red House label.
At Wheaton High in Silver Spring, Maryland, Debra Monk was voted "best personality." They shouldn't have stopped there. This singer, actor, and writer has appeared in dozens of films, TV programs, and shows on and off Broadway, including Curtains, Chicago, Picnic, and Pump Boys and Dinettes, which she co-wrote and for which she earned the first of several Tony nominations. For her performance as "Geneva" in Lanford Wilson's Redwood Curtain, she won a 1993 Tony Award.
The Guy's All-Star Shoe Band
The Guy's All-Star Shoe Band is led by A Prairie Home Companion music director Richard Dworsky. Keyboard player, composer and improviser in any style, he also writes all the script themes and underscores. His latest CD is So Near and Dear to Me.
Chet Atkins called Pat Donohue (guitar) one of the greatest fingerpickers in the world today. And he writes songs too — recorded by Suzy Bogguss, Kenny Rogers and others. Freewayman (Bluesky Records) is the most recent of Pat's nine albums.
Gary Raynor (bass) has performed with the Count Basie band, Sammy Davis Jr. — with whom he toured for several years — and the Minnesota Klezmer Band. He teaches jazz bass at the McNally Smith College of Music in St. Paul.
Peter Johnson (percussion) has played klezmer music with Doc Severinsen and jazz with Dave Brubeck. He was a drummer for The Manhattan Transfer and for Gene Pitney. He has toured the world, but he always comes back to home base: Saint Paul.
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.
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).