‘Paynes Prairie Home Companion’ moved to the Thomas Center


Performers appearing in tonight’s performance of “All-American Paynes Prairie Home Companion” include, from left, Rob Rothschild, Cathy DeWitt, Ron Thomas, Mick Marino, Gregg Jones and Mike Boulware.

Courtesy of Ron Thomas
Published: Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, September 24, 2013 at 6:27 p.m.

It’s the kind of news Garrison Keillor might report on “A Prairie Home Companion”: The fire department’s bake sale got rained out so they moved it into the high school auditorium.

Facts

‘All-American Paynes Prairie Home Companion’

What: “Free Fridays” concert modeled on “A Prairie Home Companion” and originally planned for July 5 at Bo Diddley Community Plaza.
When: 8-10 tonight
Where: Thomas Center, 302 NE Sixth Ave.
Admission: $5

That’s sort of what happened to the Gainesville tribute/spoof of Keillor’s show — the “All-American Paynes Prairie Home Companion” — which is now set for tonight at the Thomas Center after rain washed it away from Bo Diddley Community Plaza in July.

Originally planned as this year’s Fourth of July show on the city of Gainesville’s “Free Fridays” Concert Series, the “Paynes Prairie Home Companion” show was about 15 minutes into its plaza performance July 5, when rain caused it to be postponed for a time and place to be named later.

That place turned out to be the Thomas Center, which all involved realized would be a perfect setting for the show and its bits inspired by Keillor’s show such as the “News from Lake Wauberg” and mock commercials for Gainesville institutions that no longer exist.

“They put in so much time and effort into this, that it just seemed like we had to find a way to be able to present it,” says David Ballard, event coordinator for the city of Gainesville’s Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department, which oversees performances at both the plaza and the Thomas Center.

“That’s one of our other venues, and it just seemed like honestly this was really tailor-made for a Thomas Center type of venue anyway,” Ballard says.

As in its original incarnation, the “All-American Paynes Prairie Home Companion” will feature a host of Gainesville musicians and performers in a two-hour show that comes with an intermission just as it was planned at the plaza.

“The band Quartermoon with John and Raven Smith and a number of other people will be in the first half of the show,” says Ron Thomas, the Gainesville musician who organized and appears in the show. “Then in the second half will be Mike Boulware, Mick Marino, Rob Rothschild, Cathy DeWitt and myself playing as the New Prairie Dogs.”

The show also features actor and Santa Fe College theater professor Gregg Jones in comic bits and as a foil to Thomas’ role as the Keillor-like host.

“He’s a very big part of the show,” Thomas says about Jones. “He and I are going to do a number of routines together, and then he has a few of his own.”

A $5 admission is planned at the door for tonight’s show to defray the performers’ cost of restaging the show.

“We really had no budget money left, and they wanted to do the show,” Ballard says. “So we okayed the idea to have a small admission price to help the musicians who are coming again.

“It’s been a wonderful thing that a group of musicians have gone to so much effort to put on special shows for the plaza.”

Contact Entertainment Editor Bill Dean at 374-5039 or at bill.dean@gvillesun.com, and follow on Twitter @SceneBillDean.

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