Two Anoka High School grads will team up on "A Prairie Home Companion" during Saturday's show in New York City.

Unless you live under a pontoon, you've heard of Garrison Keillor, Class of 1960.

But you may not know Kate Beahen, Class of 2005 -- whose trip to Lake Wobegon began when she met Keillor four years ago, with a supporting role played by her grandma. Details later.

Beahen, 22, will be the lead in a Guy Noir radio skit when the show airs from New York's Town Hall theater.

"She will be a very successful entrepreneur running a cleaning service. She will be the Queen of Clean and enormously wealthy, but her real dream is to be in theater," Keillor said by phone this week as he rode a train from Washington to New York and worked on the script. "She is passionate about cleaning, but she wants to sing love songs and to find romance."

As usual, Keillor will play the morose, bumbling private eye, Noir.

"The episode will have some big musical numbers that Kate can do very handily, I think. She has a big belting voice," Keillor said. "Nobody told her that the American musical is dead. But nobody told me the radio variety show is dead, either. So where there is death, there is hope."

Since moving to New York six months ago, Beahen has been acting in a monthly cabaret in Brooklyn, as well as waiting tables and doing other odd jobs. The Guy Noir role is her big-stage acting debut in New York.

"The coolest part is to be in New York and be involved in something so personal," she said. "My first professional appearance in New York is in a show I grew up with, that all my friends can tune in and listen to and be part of; this a very big thing for me."

Beahen met Keillor when he performed at Florida State University, where she was studying for her musical theater degree. The show was sold out. She mentioned that to her grandmother, Philomene Hastings, who wrote Keillor and asked whether he could find a seat for his young fan and fellow Anoka High alum. But Keillor didn't see the letter until long after his Tallahassee show.

Beahen, unaware of her grandmother's efforts, got to see Keillor's "Pontoon" monologue anyway, by volunteering as an usher. Afterward, she went up to meet him and mentioned their Anoka connection. "We sang the Anoka fight song right there in the auditorium," Beahen recalled.

"I just needed to make sure she was from there," Keillor cracked.

When Keillor got her grandma's letter, he didn't realize he had met Beahen. He e-mailed her and apologized, she e-mailed back and they became e-mail friends.

"He'd give advice and tell me about his new books," Beahen said.

She said Keillor pushed her to do creative writing and to use her own material when she auditioned for parts. He gave her blank, hardcover notebooks to write in.

"He said you have to create your own person, your own role and do your own Kate shows," she said.

This spring, Keillor, 67, contacted Beahen about the role. "When you are waiting on tables and selling high-end casual wear, she oughta have a little fun and the audience in Town Hall is really fantastic. They will love her."

Why did Keillor befriend Beahen? "I am at an age, where all I know is people retiring and slacking off and complaining about their knees and hips. So I like to hang out with people who are ambitious and have big dreams. She is a kid with a big dream. There aren't so many of those."

Jim Adams • 612-673-7658