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July 6, 2004 |

Dear Mr. Keillor,
I enjoy PHC immensely. I've never been to the show personally and I wonder if the performers have riders in their contracts like famous stars on tour do? Does Sue Scott require a white room with 70 vases of red roses and lighted perfume candles? Does Rich Dworsky ask for a specialist in Swedish massage to be available before and after each show? Does Pat Donohue's contract stipulate that if he's not delivered a case of fine Scottish ale he will not participate in the performance? Does anyone ask for Champagne, silk robes and slippers, caviar, imported bottled water or silver dishes? I'm dying to know.

Rina

Rina,
You're asking for personal information that I have no right to hand out, but it's the end of the season so what the hey. Let 'em sue me. Sue Scott's dressing room is black, she burns incense, and she lies on a vibrating couch and hums. We can hear her tremolo up and down the hall. Rich Dworsky is a vegan and his contract specifies that there must be broccoli, pea pods, grilled tomatoes, mangoes, and eggplant backstage, and no pork sausage in the same room as he, and mineral water from a particular spring in Maine (not Piscacadawadaquoddymoggin, another one). No Swedish masseur for him: his contract specifies that he must have absolute silence for 55 minutes before broadcast, so we have to stuff the hallway with mattresses and teach the stagehands to use American Sign Language. Pat Donohue's contract doesn't mention ale, the last I looked, but it does specify that six different staff people must compliment him on his playing in the half hour before showtime (e.g. "Your solo on the Powdermilk Biscuit theme becomes deeper and deeper with every passing week"). Also he likes steak, medium rare, with raw onions. You didn't ask about my contract, and the truth is that I ask nothing whatsoever but a chance to entertain others and bring happiness into the lives of my listeners. That's how I was brought up. Selfless. It's not everyone's way, but it's mine.

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