Renowned radio host Garrison Keillor to take the stage in Wilkes-Barre
One of the most decorated and recognizable American storytellers is coming to Wilkes-Barre.
Author, storysmith, poet and radio personality Garrison Keillor will perform at 7:30 p.m. March 13 at the F.M. Kirby Center, 71 Public Square.
Widely known for his 42-year tenure as the host of popular radio show “A Prairie Home Companion,” Keillor is also a renowned author of such books as “Lake Wobegon Days” and “Homegrown Democrat.”
A native Minnesotan, Keillor created “A Prairie Home Companion” in his home state in 1974 and gained popularity with his monologue, The News From Lake Wobegon, and comic skits such as those featuring hard-boiled fictional detective Guy Noir.
Throughout a decorated career, Keillor has won a Grammy Award, a Peabody Award and two CableACE Awards.
With a penchant for mixing comedy and keen perspective, Keillor has earned a reputation for telling stories that are communicable and universal, a quality he said comes from avoiding talking about himself.
“Frankly, I’m not that interesting, so my stories are observational, not confessional,” Keillor said. “Because I’m 74 years old, they’re not about current events or pop culture.”
Keillor said he’s no longer concerned with subjects like the “difficulties of speed dating” and his irritation at his parents.
“I am a grateful man, and gratitude is a solid basis for stories,” he said. “We are so lucky, and let me tell you why.”
Keillor makes the most ordinary of life’s moments acutely funny and he is a master at conveying laughs to his audience.
His acumen for pulling the humor out of the prosaic, he said, is a testament to his ability to observe.
“I’m a Midwesterner,” Keillor said. “I’m shy. I listen rather than try to control the world around me. I’m just a little rabbit in the bushes, amazed at the traffic and the brouhaha.”
Keillor said the variety he’ll bring to the stage in Wilkes-Barre will include talking about “the beauty of being 74, despite the obvious limitations and humiliations,” and telling a story about the first girl who was interested in him and how amazing it was.
“I toss in some poems, some jokes, and now and then, when in the mood, I might do a murder ballad,” Keillor said. “People don’t get to hear those often.”
Keillor said he likes to get the audience singing during intermission and tends to walk around as he talks.
He refrains, though, from reading directly from his works, he said.
“I don’t read to an audience,” Keillor said. “They can read for themselves. Sometimes, I walk right into the audience to make sure they’re not reading.”
Keillor’s most recent books include 2013’s “O, What a Luxury” and 2014’s “The Keillor Reader.” He is currently the host of online and radio program “The Writer’s Almanac.”
Of the multitude of subjects Keillor will engage on stage, politics, he said, will not be a focus.
In a divided country where “people think what they think,” Keillor said “nobody wants to hear more.”
“People need a break,” Keillor said. “I don’t breathe a word about politics in my show and people are deeply grateful, regardless of loyalty. We sing ‘America’ and ‘The Battle Hymn of the Republic’ … that’s as far as I go.”
Reach Matt Mattei at 570-991-6651 or on Twitter @TimesLeaderMatt.
IF YOU GO
What: Garrison Keillor
When: 7:30 p.m. March 13
Where: F.M. Kirby Center, 71 Public Square, Wilkes-Barre
Ticket information: Tickets range from $35 to $55 and are available at the Kirby Center box office, online at kirbycenter.org or by phone at 570-826-1100.