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Kristin Chenoweth made her Broadway debut in a 1997 production of Moliére's Scapin. Since then, this Tony winner, Emmy winner, film star, recording artist, book author from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, has proved that this pint-sized frame packs a wallop of talent. She is currently wrapping up a Broadway run in Promises, Promises. Her latest album is called A Lovely Way to Spend Christmas (Sony).
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.
Ian Frazier's best-selling books include Coyote vs. Acme, Great Plains, Family, On the Rez, and Lamentations of the Father. His latest is Travels in Siberia (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), a travelogue that takes the reader through the history and geography of this vast region. Newsweek once referred to this two-time winner of the Thurber Prize for American Humor as "the best master of gentle laid-back befuddlement since [Robert] Benchley." Frazier is a longtime staff writer for The New Yorker.
Long ago, author Mary Gordon thought of becoming a contemplative nun. Now, in her novels, short stories, and personal memoirs, she writes about faith and Catholic life and identity. A three-time recipient of the O. Henry Award for best short story, her recent books include Pearl, The Stories of Mary Gordon, Circling My Mother: A Memoir, and 2009's Reading Jesus: A Writer's Encounter with the Gospels (Pantheon Books). Gordon teaches literature and writing at Barnard College, and in 2008 she was named to a two-year term as New York State Author.
Paul Rudnick recalls that at the age of five, though he'd never seen a play, he wrote a prescient little essay in which he declared himself a playwright. He is the author of the Obie-winning Jeffrey as well as I Hate Hamlet, The New Century, and others. He has also written novels, essays, and screenplays. His recent books include I Shudder: And Other Reactions to Life, Death, and New Jersey, and The Collected Plays of Paul Rudnick (It Books). He is a regular contributor to The New Yorker, and his work has appeared in Vanity Fair, Vogue, Esquire, and The New York Times.
Sharon Olds grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, attended Stanford, and completed a Ph.D. at Columbia University. In 1980, she published her first book of poems, Satan Says, which received the inaugural San Francisco Poetry Center Award. Her most recent collection is One Secret Thing (Random House). She teaches poetry workshops in the Graduate Creative Writing Program at New York University and was one of the founders of the NYU workshop program at Goldwater Hospital, a 900-bed state facility for the severely disabled. From 1998 to 2000, she was New York State Poet Laureate, and she is chancellor of the Academy of American poets. Her next collection is tentatively titled Stag's Leap: Poems 1997–2000.
Garrison Keillor was born in Anoka, graduated from the University of Minnesota ('66), and lives in St. Paul. He is the author of numerous books, including his latest, Life Among the Lutherans (Augsburg Books) and Pilgrims: A Wobegon Romance (Viking).
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).