A running bulletin of happenings and star sightings in and around the Fitzgerald Theater.
Dust off those vocal chords posted: 7/10/2006
An interesting spin-off of the Prairie Home Companion movie: a sing-along. In Brandenton, Florida, folks are singing along to the entire movie, complete with songbooks and its own singer-songwriter host.
Still Going Strong posted: 6/28/2006
While the movie made an appearance on the box office top ten after its opening weekend, it was quickly nudged by some of the bigger summer blockbusters. What's interesting, though, is that the film is only showing on about 750 screens nationwide, so its per-screen average is through the roof. So much so, that the folks at IndieWire decided to start tracking movies a little differently. At any rate, it will continue to be interesting to watch the growth of the movie's success. And by the way, it's not that far out of the top ten anyway.
Opening Night posted: 6/9/2006
The time has come for the masses to see what is the end-result of nearly a year's worth of work. It's hard to beleive that just one year ago, the Fitzgerald Theater was starting to paint the walls green and get ready for all the big Hollywood-types. And now, The Fitzgerald Theater will star (in its own way) in what has turned out to be a major motion-picture event. See you at the movies!
Movie Web site posted: 5/18/2006
Today brings a new look for the A Prairie Home Companion movie Web site, complete with Flashy interface, e-cards, downloads, and much more.
It's Over! posted: 5/4/2006
The premiere was a phenomenal success. All the local media were there with some fantastic coverage of the star-studded event. Take a look at the Prairie Home Companion page for some photos, as well as the Star Tribune's excellent set of pictures. If you can't get enough of movie stars in your PHC, you'll want to stay tuned to your radio: Meryl Streep, Lily Tomlin, Kevin Kline and John C. Reilly may all appear at the June 2 show from Hollywood.
The Big Time posted: 5/3/2006
This is it: tonight's the night. Hollywood is coming to town, to our very own theater, to attend the gala premiere. Of course, there's the parade, and the red carpet, and the after partybut what's truly making the day brighter is this piece about the film, the premiere and the theater in the Pioneer Press.
Even if it is a Wednesday, put on your Sunday best, we'll see you tonight.
More about the premiere posted: 4/3/2006
Well there's a lot of buzz around here about the movie's return to The Fitzgerald Theater for its premiere, and the after party at the Landmark Center. And rightfully so, this is the big time. It's an invitation only event, so no tickets will be sold through the Fitz. But there was some speculation from WCCO, about some high price tickets from the city of St. Paul:
"...but St. Paul agreed to distribute 100 tickets to help defray the costs of bringing in projection equipment. [St. Paul City marketing director Erin] Dady said the tickets will run from $1,000 to $10,000 and will include admission to the after party."
PREMIERE AT THE FITZ posted: 3/31/2006
It's official. On Wednesday, May 3, the Fitzgerald Theater will host the star-studded premiere of A Prairie Home Companion. From the press release:
In addition to Garrison Keillor and Robert Altman, the following actors are expected to attend: Kevin Kline, Lindsay Lohan, Virginia Madsen, John C. Reilly, Meryl Streep and Lily Tomlin. Others may join the event.
Even More Festivals posted: 3/31/2006
A couple more festivals will squeeze in some showings of A Prairie Home Companion. So if you're in the San Francisco in mid-April, or Great Barrington, MA in May, you're in for a treat.
A Prairie Home Companion Soundtrack posted: 3/27/2006
Since the PHC movie features singing a whole lot of singing, the dailies are buzzing with information on the soon-to-be-released soundtrack. Apparently there will be two versions: one with just the music, and another with a companion(!) DVD of music outtakes from the movie. The CD and CD/DVD set will be released May 23, and features the actors Lindsay Lohan, Meryl Streep, Lily Tomlin, John C. Riley and Woody Harrelson. PHC regulars Robin and Linda Williams and the Shoe Band are peppered throughout as well.
Reviews from SXSW posted: 3/13/2006
The reviews are in, and they're overwhelmingly positive. John C. Reilly introduced the film to a packed audience at Austin's Paramount theater. He and several others from the cast made appearances. The real news, however, is that there is word of a preliminary plan to have a premiere here in the Twin Cities... stay tuned.
Sarasota Film Festival posted: 3/10/2006
While folks in Austin, Texas are gearing up for the American debut of A Prairie Home Companion on Sunday, there is cause to celebrate in Sarasota, Florida too. According to the Brandenton Herald, the film will be showing at the Sarasota Film Festival, (eventhough they're not posting their film list until Monday).
Oscar for Altman, and a Web site for the movie posted: 3/6/2006
Robert Altman received his long-awaited Oscar™ last night. As a result, lots of media outlets are saluting and anthologizing his career.
In other news, the A Prairie Home Companion movie Web site has finally been launched. Both the trailer and the one sheet are up for your perusal.
Red Carpet Treatment posted: 2/16/2006
After reading about the warm reception the Prairie Home Companion movie got in Berlin, it's fun to watch the video clips of Robert Altman, Woody Harrelson, Lindsay Lohan and Meryl Streep arriving for the premiere, and conducting a press conference after the film's presentation.
Politics in Film posted: 2/13/2006
The Prairie Home movie screened at the Berlin Film Festival last night; no doubt there will be a lot of commentary about it in the coming days. There are already several positive reviews. The Fort Wayne News Sentinel has an interesting look at the politics in the movie. Altman, claims the politics in the movie are are in the same vein as Keillor's ways of "weaving politics into his show, but not overtly so."
"I'd like to thank..." posted: 1/12/2006
Robert Altman has been nominated as best director by the Academy five times. And he has never won. But this March, he'll come home with an Oscar®guaranteed. Altman will be awarded an honorary statuette for "a career that has repeatedly reinvented the art form and inspired filmmakers and audiences alike." Hopefully he'll make another appearance next year.
South by Southwest posted: 1/3/2006
MSNBC reports that the Prairie Home Companion movie will open the SXSW festival this March in Austin, Texas. SXSW is claiming that it will be the North American premiere... but most folks will have to wait until the film's release June 9 to see it in theaters.
Festivals posted: 12/16/2005
It's been announced that the movie is going to be screened at the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival this March in Aspen, Colorado. Don't be too surprised if it pops up at other stops on the film festival circuit.
High-Definition posted: 12/14/2005
A story from The Hollywood Reporter discusses the digital production elements Altman used while filming A Prairie Home Companion. The article also mentions the much-anticipated release date of early June, 2006.
A Big Deal posted: 11/1/2005
More news continues to swirl around the distribution deal with Picturehouse. In a Reuters article, we can learn a few details: the deal closed at a sum between $3 and $4 million, and Picturehouse beat out Fox Searchlight and Focus Features for the deal.
Back to Basics posted: 11/1/2005
With Picturehouse distributing the film, a lot of the marketing work is being handed over to them. They've decided to return the film's title back from the working title The Last Broadcast to A Prairie Home Companion, hoping to draw more of the radio show's audience. In other news from the Star Tribune, the film is tentatively slated for an early summer 2006 release.
Distribution posted: 10/31/2005
Picturehouse just announced that they have acquired distribution rights for the Prairie Home movie. The relatively new company (started in April, 2005 as a joint venture between HBO and New Line Cinema) hasn't yet set a release date. Take a look at their release slate, to see what else Picturehouse is up to.
Deliverance posted: 10/24/2005
Maya Rudolph gave birth to a baby girl last week. She and boyfriend P.T. Anderson have named their daughter Pearl.
Another Late Night posted: 9/12/2005
It probably isn't very surprising that Garrison Keillor often has to work late for his show, A Prairie Home Companion. Throw in a movie, and that situation gets exacerbated. The Hutchinson News from Hutchinson, Kansas reports of GK flying to New York City to work with Robert Altman, ironing out some details on the film. Apparently all that work on the movie forced him to stay up all night and finish up this week's show on the way from New York to Hutchinson, Kansas for the final show in the PHC State Fair Tour.
He Never Stops posted: 9/9/2005
USA Today broke the news of Robert Altman's latest project yesterday. He'll be directing one of Arthur Miller's last plays, Resurrection Blues at the Old Vic Theatre in London. Interestingly enough, the play actually premiered in 2002 at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. Coincidence? Maybe he just liked spending so much time at a nice, historic theater...
From Virginia posted: 8/31/2005
The News Leader, In Staunton, Virginia has a fine piece on Robin and Linda Williams' roles in the upcoming movie. As you may know, Robin and Linda have provided some of the best tidbits about the film in their online journal, so it's only fitting that they be featured.
Yet Another Inside Scoop posted: 8/30/2005
Here's a great link to a story in The Rake about Jon Steinhorst, a young man who became a Production Assistant on The Last Broadcast. Even better, Garrick Van Buren, the author of the piece, put the interview up as part of his podcast series, "First Crack."
A Prairie Film Companion posted: 8/29/2005
The national media continue to report on The Last Broadcast. This weekend, TIME featured a story about Altman's style of filmmakingsearching for human interaction more than the actual script.
The AP goes ape for APHC posted: 8/24/2005
Two stories came across the wire yesterday. They don't yield any new information, (at least to anyone who has followed links from this site) but it is nice to see the film can still create some buzz. The first article focuses on fun stories from the set, and the other is an interview with Robert Altman.
Quick Q&As posted: 8/15/2005
With Garrison and company on the road for the final stages of the Rhubarb Tour, the movie is getting attention in local media as the show makes its stops. One short highlight in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette and one in The Indianapolis Star yield some answers about The Last Broadcast.
The Last Broadcast posted: 8/8/2005
First reported in the Web log by Prairie Home regulars Robin and Linda Williams, a new article in the Star Tribune confirms that the title of the upcoming film will be The Last Broadcast.
A Q&A with Robert Altman posted: 8/3/2005
Chris Hewitt of the Pioneer Press chatted with Robert Altman before he left town on Monday. He had some great things to say about working at the Fitzgearld, and the film in general.
A note from the manager posted: 8/2/2005
Brian Sanderson, the good-natured manager of the Fitz, had a few choice words on the closing of filming:
The Prairie Home Companion movie wrapped this past Thursday. The final shot was of Guy Noir (Kevin Kline) playing the Steinway piano as the crew was striking the set and throwing it into a dumpster in the alley. They even got a construction worker from the Dept. of Health project to come over and dump a load of junk into the dumpster on cue.
Now they start the process of packing equipment, returning props, cameras, and restoring our theater to its original state. We are keeping a mural painted on the lobby wall and did purchase some of the props for a display.
I can tell you that they were a great bunch of folks to work with, and I think we showed the Hollywood folks and New Yorkers that this is a great place to live and work. When we asked the stars to sign our backstage wall they nearly all said YES!
I did get the opportunity last week to view some dailies (raw footage not edited yet). It was beautiful and extremely funny. The buzz on the set is very positive!
Checking in with Robin and Linda posted: 8/2/2005
We mentioned it before, but it bears repeating: go check out Robin and Linda Williams' journal about the movie. It's the best insider's view yetthey even reveal the likely name of the film.
A Voice for the Movies posted: 8/1/2005
Lynn Neary from NPR brings us a story from the Fitz as the movie wraps. The real gem, though, is the extended interview with Garrison Keillor. He muses on the screenwriting process, dancing with Meryl Streep, and collaborating with Robert Altman.
That's a wrap? posted: 7/28/2005
Filming is set to wrap earlytoday as a matter of fact. There's still a lot of great stories coming out of the Fitz though, which will likely continue until the film is released. There's some great audio excerpts from Keillor, Atlman and Madsen in the latest story from Minnesota Public Radio. And the big city folks at the Washington Post tried their hand at a story on the movie too. Despite a few mistakes, (Tom Russell?) it's a good, comprehensive recap.
Woody sings posted: 7/28/2005
C.J. from the Star Tribune has yet another interesting scoop. This time, the focus has shifted to a very gracious Woody Harrelson. In addition to meeting the folks at the assisted-living complex next door to th Fitz, he sings. The real question, though, is how well does he sing? C.J.'s source, Jason Gabbert, explains:
"Woody all of a sudden breaks into a rendition of 'Heartbreak Hotel.' Sang the whole thing. Everybody in there was just floored by how good it sounded."
But the Washington Post's Peter Kaufman sees things a little differently:
Reilly, who had a number in the film "Chicago," is no trained vocalist, but next to Harrelsonliterally next to himhe is Mario Lanza.
Obviously, Kaufman heard a different song...
My life as a spare part, Part 2 posted: 7/27/2005
Our friend Philip Blackburn has entered his second installment chronicling his experiences as an extra for the Prairie Home movie. Read more observations in "My Life as a Spare Part, Part 2." (The first installment is there too.)
'A Prairie Home' in the Times posted: 7/25/2005
Here's a truly interesting article from the New York Times' David Carr. It answers some of the questions as to what the collaborative process is like, what color Kevin Kline's shorts are, and why P.T. Anderson is around so much.
Oenophilia posted: 7/22/2005
It should come as no surprise that Virginia Madsen went to the closest wine specialty store, Solo Vino, this week. After her Academy Award™ nomination for her role in Sideways, it seems she may have stayed in character, as she went in specifically looking for California wines.
Goin' to the zoo posted: 7/21/2005
John C. Reilly, (erstwhile Dusty from the Lives of the Cowboys on the set) was spotted at the Como Zoo this weekend, with his wife and two kids.
There's also another post at the PHC Chatterbox from an extra. Not just any extra though. Kate Thomas is the Web designer for Tim Russell and Sue Scott's Web site, so it's a bit more of an inside scoop than you might expect.
Above 'adequate'? posted: 7/20/2005
Chris Hewitt at the Pioneer Press has the inside scoop at the Fitz, (most likely from his stint as an extra). Apparently, Robert Altman is not too forthcoming with praise for the cast, using a simple "that's adequate" when he has his shot.
In other news, fans of the radio show will be pleased to hear that several frequent guests, will be popping in and out of the movie. Both Butch Thompson and Jearlyn Steele have been playing and singing on-set.
And for those looking to see stars, there are more departures: Lily Tomlin and Meryl Streep have finished their scenes, and are no longer lingering in the Twin Cities.
Madsen in, Lohan out posted: 7/19/2005
C.J. has a pretty big round-up of star encounters in this morning's Star Tribune. The big news? Lindsay Lohan has left town, and now we know she was staying at Le Meridien in Minneapolisand rather modestly toofor about $375 a night. Speaking of modesty, Virginia Madsen rented a car and has been driving herself to shooting at the Fitz.
Sushi again? posted: 7/18/2005
Maya Rudolph must be craving Japanese food. Just last week, she and P.T. Anderson were seen at Saji-Ya; and just yesterday, She, Anderson and another guest were seen at Sakura in downtown. While chewing that over, take a look at Rudolph's biography at imdb.comvery fascinating.
Famous people like babies posted: 7/15/2005
As noted in the Pioneer Press, Maya Rudolph and her boyfriend, (director P.T. Anderson) were very taken with a baby at Bon Vie the other day. Makes sense, considering the couple are expecting their first child sometime near the end of the summer.
It's also worthy of note that most of the stars are staying fairly close to the Fitz when dining out. Saji-Ya, La Grolla, Pazzaluna, Bon Vie are all within a couple of miles of downtown.
My life as a spare part posted: 7/14/2005
Musician and environmental sound artist Philip Blackburn is chronicling his experiences as an extra for the Prairie Home movie. Read his first installment of wry observations in "My Life as a Spare Part."
Robin and Linda Williams posted: 7/14/2005
Fans of the radio show know Robin and Linda Williams from countless appearances on-air. Garrison asked them to be in the movie, and they are keeping a journal of their exploits behind the scenes.
Prairie Home Sushi? posted: 7/14/2005
The Pioneer Press reported that Saturday night was another long night of filming. Exterior shots of Mickey's Diner lasted long enough for Lily Tomlin to order some sushi from Saji-Ya on Grand Avenue... $1,000 worth of sushi. Apparently, they enjoyed it too; Maya Rudolph was seen there on Sunday night.
An insider's view posted: 7/8/2005
Thomas Scheuzger, Assistant Technical Director/Transmission Engineer of the PHC radio program, has an insider's view of the Fitzgerald set-up.
Marathon session posted: 7/8/2005
With Garrison back in town, filming is expected to reach break-neck pace this weekend. The call for extras states that they should expect to stay until late tonight (possibly as late as 4 am). In other news, according to C.J. in the Star Tribune, one Lindsay Lohan went shopping at Sophie Joe's Emporium on West 7th St. in Saint Paul yesterday.
What to do if you're an extra posted: 7/7/2005
Here's an up-to-date list of things to remember if you're going to be an extra on the Prairie Home Companion set.
Tommy Lee Jones posted: 7/6/2005
Academy Award winner Tommy Lee Jones has joined the cast of A Prairie Home Companion. According to Reuters, Jones will play the "Axeman," a shadowy character dispatched by the conglomerate trying to shutdown the show.
Take the Fifth posted: 7/5/2005
Kevin Kline, (outside the Fitz) John C. Reilly, (at La Grolla in on Selby Avenue in St. Paul) and Meryl Streep (at the St. Paul Hotel) were all spotted this weekend out and about in St. Paul. Lindsay Lohan also returned to the Twin Cities after celebrating her birthday and the Fourth of July in Los Angeles.
Camera ready to roll posted: 6/29/2005
Filming is expected to start today. Amidst the buzz and anticipation, Minnesota Public Radio reporter Chris Roberts filed an interesting story about filming in St. Paul.
Stars in St. Paul... posted: 6/28/2005
A few stars have been coming through the Fitzgerald Theater this afternoon, preparing for shooting that starts tomorrow. Lindsay Lohan came by this afternoon, as did Maya Rudolph and her boyfriend, director P.T. Anderson. Meryl Streep was spotted in the downtown Marshall Fields, as well.
Before and After Photos posted: 6/27/2005
A few shots to show the progress on certain areas of the fitz from June 14 through June 24.
Pre-Production Photos posted: 6/26/2005
Take a look at these photos to see some of the work the pre-production crew has done to get the Fitz in shape for the movie.
Extras posted: 6/18/2005
Noir Productions, Inc. is seeking individuals wanting to participate as background extras in the upcoming Prairie Home Companion feature film. Interested parties must call our extras hotline at (651) 224-7544. Callers will hear information on how to register as an extra. Filming is scheduled to begin in St. Paul on June 29th and wrap on August 2nd. Please be advised that only those formally registering per the hotline will be eligible for consideration.
Shooting schedule posted: 6/12/2005
Shooting for Robert Altman's new movie, A Prairie Home Companion, will take place at the Fitzgerald Theater from June 29th through August 2nd. Please note that this is a closed shooting, and members of the public will not be allowed access to the Fitzgerald Theater. Find out more information about the film at the movies' IMDB entry.
Most recent cast list (in alphabetical order) updated: 7/6/2005
Tommy Lee Jones
John C. Reilly