The Fourth of July weekend brought Tim and Sue to the to the Tanglewood Music Park in the Berkshire Mountains of Western Massachusetts. It’s been an annual tradition for Garrison to close the official Prairie Home Companion season with a performance at the Koussevitsky Music Shed, the summer home of The Boston Symphony Orchestra. This year it was an extra special performance. PBS taped the broadcast for their national Independence Day “Great Performances” presentation on Sunday July 2nd, and the great Meryl Streep joined the cast to act with us and sing and read poetry with Garrison. She drove herself to the venue, which is indicative of how down to earth she really is, no limos for Ms Streep.
She showed up for rehearsal right on time early Friday evening, accompanied by Roy Helland, her makeup/hair person for the last 30 -some years. We complimented Meryl on her performance in “The Devil Wears Prada” , which opened that day. She is magnificent in her portrayal of Miranda Priestly. If she doesn’t get an Oscar nomination for playing Yolanda Johnson in Garrison’s film, she surely will for this one. Roy should be nominated as well for makeup and hair for “Prada”. The wig he did for Meryl is perfect. We found out the wig she wore in “A Prairie Home Companion” was originally made for Gene Hackman for his stint in drag in the movie ” La Cage a Folles”. Gene decided not to wear it so he gave it back to Roy.
Garrison was on the road with his “Rhubarb Tour” for three performances on the East Coast leading up to this one. The tour included the Guy’s All Star Shoe Band,
sound effects genius Fred Newman Canada’s The Wailin’ Jennys, The Hopeful gospel Quartet , and young actor Erica Rhodes. Sue and Tim and gospel singer Jerlyn Steele joined up with the gang for this final performance at Tanglewood.
After a very stormy week on the East Coast, the weather was perfect for Saturday evening’s performance. It was a great show!
Garrison wrote a script for Meryl and Erica called “The Prodigal Daughter”, with Tim playing the storyteller, and a special Guy Noir episode in which Guy tries to detect talent for an amateur talent show. The dialogue between the Johnson Sisters, Rhonda and Yolanda is very close to the original screenplay Garrison wrote for the Altman film. Fans of the film can listen for the story of Rhonda played here by Sue Scott, doing the Lily Tomlin role , with Meryl reprising her role as Yolanda and how they were snubbed by “The Lawrence Welk Show”. Erica Rhodes played, the Lindsey Lohan character. The back and forth with Sue and Meryl is priceless, with poor Guy barely able to get a word in edgewise.
The Tanglewood crowd is one of the most appreciative we see all year and gave Garrison and all of us one curtain call after another, each one providing a sing-a- long opportunity.
Meryl seemed to love every minute of it.
After the show it was farewell to all, but not for long. July 14 we Embark for the Prairie Home Companion Alaska Cruise. A week long lovefest between the hardy fans willing to spend a week at sea with Garrison and the cast and crew of A Prairie Home Companion on the S.S. Vaandam. Sue and Tim will be busy all week performing, giving workshops, and enjoying the beautiful Alaskan Coast. Stay tuned for details.