Harvest Moon 2017

“Harvest Moon” is coming! The faux radio variety show, the brainchild of John Zdrazil, was produced for many years at West Central High School in Elbow Lake, and for a few years at the new West Central Area Secondary School. But this revival will be sponsored by the Prairie Wind Players, staged at Roosevelt Hall in Barrett, and performed on Saturday, October 7, at 7:00 p.m. and Sunday, October 8 at 2:00 p.m.

Zdrazil, who had directed musicals and other plays at West Central during the late 1980s, decided to try something different the fall of 1990. He was a fan of Garrison Keillor’s “Prairie Home Companion” radio show on Minnesota Public Radio and found a fellow fan in 10th grader Amy Kjesbo. “She was writing stuff as good as Garrison Keillor,” recalled Zdrazil, “So we decided to put on our own spoof of Prairie Home Companion as the fall production.” Zdrazil invented mythical west central Minnesota locations such as the neighboring towns of Harvest and Moon, of Harvest Moon County. The two towns were going through school consolidation pains, much like Elbow Lake/Wendell and Barrett were going through in the late 80s and early 90s. Many of the skits and jokes revolved around this and the audience laughed at foibles they could well relate to. “The schools merged and became the Harvest-Moon Combines,” recalled Zdrazil. “Amy Kjesbo wrote the lyrics to the fight song, which included the lyrics ‘...chew wheat and spit/let’s hear it/we want to see the market price at eight-fifty.’ I think Harvest was Red and Moon was Green.”

He said the show was long on concept in the beginning, “Which, thankfully, fell off the truck as we drove it down the dirt road.” Live radio advertisements were a big part of “The Harvest Moon Radio Variety Hour, or so” as the original production was called. A live band was added to later productions. This year’s show will feature a three-piece band, organized by Bryan Poyzer. The band will perform songs, transition music, and sing-a-longs. The song “Harvest Moon” by Neil Young, was usually the show closer and will most likely be again. But at the heart of “Harvest Moon” are the skits, usually written by Zdrazil, spoofing everything from local politics, to ethnic food, to Lutherans. For instance, you might hear an interview with Harvest Moon County’s first church dinner coordinator, or a live broadcast from the Harvest Moon County Children’s Sermon Championship Tournament, or the Crock Pot Cook-Off. This year Zdrazil will even spoof the Prairie Wind Players and their recent production of “Little Shop of Horrors,” with “Little Test Plot of Terrors,” which concerns a soybean plant, the lone survivor of a hail storm, that develops carnivorous tastes. And he is not above spoofing the latest TV and radio shows such as “American Pickers” with his “Court-Ordered Black Friday Garage Sale,” or NPR’s “The Splendid Table” with his “A Better Plate - Funeral Lunch Food Truck.”

Some favorites from the past will return, along with the actors who played in them. For instance Eric Sanford will return as “Phil, the Worlds Vaguest Weatherman.” Zdrazil is contacting cast members now, and they will meet to “rehearse” Friday evening before the show and Saturday morning and the afternoon of October 7. Last minute script changes are part of Harvest Moon. Zdrazil is known to revise, up to, and even past, the opening number of the show. Don’t miss this special presentation, tickets will be available at the door only, and concessions and wine will be served.