To celebrate the release of Robert Altman's highly anticipated A Prairie Home Companion on June 9th, we are giving away copies of the movie's poster to some lucky winners!
Director Robert Altman and writer Garrison Keillor join forces with an all-star cast to create a comic backstage fable, A Prairie Home Companion, about a fictitious radio variety show that has managed to survive in the age of television. Meryl Streep and Lily Tomlin star as the Johnson Sisters, Yolanda and Rhonda, a country duet act that has survived the county-fair circuit, and Lindsay Lohan plays Meryl's daughter, Lola, who gets her big chance to sing on the show and then forgets the words. Kevin Kline is Guy Noir, a private eye down on his luck who works as a backstage doorkeeper, and Woody Harrelson and John C. Reilly are Dusty and Lefty, the Old Trailhands, a singing cowboy act.
Add Virginia Madsen as an angel and Tommy Lee Jones as the Axeman and Maya Rudolph as a pregnant stagehand and Keillor in the role of hangdog emcee, and you have a playful story set on a rainy Saturday night in St. Paul, Minnesota, where fans file into the Fitzgerald Theater to see A Prairie Home Companion, a staple of radio station WLT, not knowing that WLT has been sold to a Texas conglomerate and that tonight's show will be the last.
Shot entirely in the Fitzgerald, except for the opening and closing scenes which take place in a nearby diner, the picture combines Altman's cinematic style and intelligence and love of improvisation and Keillor's songs and storytelling to create a fictional counterpart to the A Prairie Home Companion radio show. The film uses the musicians and crew and stage setting of the actual radio show, heard on public radio stations coast to coast for the past quarter-century (and which, in real life, continues to broadcast).
The result is a compact tale with a series of extraordinary acting turns, especially Kevin Kline's elegant Keaton-esque detective and Lily Tomlin and Meryl Streep's singing ("Goodbye to My Mama") and their beautiful portrayal of two sisters who talk simultaneously. And Virginia Madsen's serene angel. And Lindsay Lohan's version of "Frankie and Johnny."
A Prairie Home Companion captures the distinctive spirit and humor of its namesake live radio variety program, which Keillor has been writing and hosting for over 30 years. Both Altman and Keillor are masters of observation and meaningful digression, and A Prairie Home Companion combines their sensibilities in weaving its backstage story.
Like a tall tale, the movie has a relaxed quality that allows for moments of comedy as well as sincerity. A Prairie Home Companion takes its time with its many characters, allowing details to reveal themselves in all the corners of the frame. In the process, the film delivers a funny, affectionate and sometimes wistful portrait of America and Americans.
Since its debut on July 6, 1974, A Prairie Home Companion has won the devotion of millions of listeners, who tune in every week for its signature blend of music, humor, and storytelling. A Prairie Home Companion currently draws over 4.3 million listeners on over 550 public radio stations, and is heard abroad on America One and the Armed Forces Network in Europe and the Far East. In 2004, the Library of Congress added the show's July 6, 1974 debut broadcast to the nation's registry of historic sound.
Based in St. Paul in Keillor's home state of Minnesota, A Prairie Home Companion possesses a particular sensibility associated with the Midwest, a fundamental politeness and goodwill. The entertainment is simultaneously homespun and sophisticated, smart but never slick. In addition to the first-rate house band, each episode features one or more musical guests, who have included country, folk, gospel, jazz, and opera singers as well as instrumentalists representing genres from classical to bluegrass.
The absurdities of modern life and culture are gently skewered; advertisements for imaginary sponsors boast their own jingles (with lyrics by Keillor) in droll spoofs that promise the moon, and maybe the stars, with the purchase of duct tape or biscuits. And, like an old-fashioned radio show, A Prairie Home Companion serializes the adventures of recurring characters like Guy Noir, a self-styled private eye with a fondness for Chandler-esque similes; and Dusty and Lefty, saddle tramps whose adventures are chronicled in "Lives of the Cowboys." Keillor voices many of his characters, and others are voiced by regular cast members Sue Scott and Tim Russell.
A Prairie Home Companion opens in theaters nationwide on June 9th, 2006.