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Inara George hosts Dolly Parton Tribute Concert

Inara George
Inara George
Photo by Autumn DeWilde

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Dolly Parton fans take note! If you are sticking around Southern California this Labor Day weekend, you can see some of the region’s finest singers perform their version of Parton tunes in Topanga this Saturday.

The tribute concert was organized by acclaimed singer/songwriter Inara George to raise money for one of her favorite causes. She told KPCC’s Alex Cohen why she’s so inspired by the Queen of Country Music.

A homegrown Topangan, George finds inspiration everywhere, including in the songs of The Queen of Country Music.

On Saturday at 3:00 p.m., she'll share the stage with her band, The Living Sisters. Also performing will be Becky Stark, Eleni Mandell, Phillip Littell, Alex Lilly, Harper Simon, John Gold, Juliana Raye, Justine Kragen, James Combs, Erica Canales, Sara Melson, Charlie Wadhams, Mike Viola, Dan Bern, Wendy Wang, Mike Andrews and other special guests performing unique interpretations of the Grammy Award-winning country/folk recording artist and songwriter's tunes.

The concert is a fundraiser for The Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum, where Inara George played roles such as Ophelia and Juliet before becoming a full-time musician. The beginnings of the Theatricum Botanicum stretch back to the early 1950s when Will Geer, one of the many actors victimized by the McCarthy Era blacklisting, opened a theatre for blacklisted actors and folk singers on his Topanga property.

Geer also cultivated a large garden and, unable to find work in Hollywood, he and his wife, actress Herta Ware, earned a living by selling vegetables, fruit, herbs, and theatre.

With the advent of television's "The Waltons" and subsequent popularity of Will's portrayal of Grandpa, in 1973 Will Geer re-gathered his family (who were now working actors at theatres across the country) and together they formed a nonprofit corporation, The Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum.

Audiences flocked to free workshop performances of Shakespeare, folk plays, and concerts featuring such well-known artists as Pete Seeger, Arlo Guthrie, Della Reese & Burl Ives, among others.

Tickets to the Dolly Parton tribute at The Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum range from $25-$40.

Watch Inara George's "Fools in Love" video: