Souvenir opens at Waterfront


Concert halls have always had bad singers, but never has there been someone as spectacularly awful as, Florence Foster Jenkins. “Souvenir” is the award-winning play by Stephen Temperley about this real-life figure, who was convinced she had the voice of an angel, but in reality could not carry a note. Her infamous recitals were packed with audiences eager to hear her notoriously tone-deaf interpretations of classic arias. For those in the seats, her vocals were hilarious, but Jenkins mistook the guffaws for cheers of admiration.  Variety said, “[Souvenir] is a beguiling comic jewel with a heart.”

The Waterfront Playhouse presents this award-winning play for 10 performances, all at 8 p.m., April 10-19, with low priced previews on April 8 and 9. The production is sponsored by KEY TV, with the opening night after-party sponsored by El Meson de Pepe.

For tickets, call 305-294-5015 or go to WaterfrontPlayhouse. Check out the Friday Night Date Special for discounted tickets, as well as student, senior and military discounts.

“Souvenir, A Fantasia on the Life of Florence Foster Jenkins” (the full title of the play), is directed by Cameron Murray with musical direction by Vincent Zito. Playing the deluded diva is Gayla D. Morgan, who in reality is a gifted musician with a beautiful coloratura soprano voice. The play is also about Florence’s relationship with her accompanist and partner in sound crime, Cosme McMoon, played by the brilliant pianist, Charles Lindberg.

Cosme acts as the narrator of the play which is told in flashbacks. Madam Flo and Cosme formed a celebrated partnership that still holds cult status. In the 1930’s and ‘40s, Manhattan’s elite would pack her concerts in order to hear her terrible singing, stuffing handkerchiefs into their mouths to stifle laughter. Her concerts were famous not only for her bad singing, but also for her outrageous costumes and wild theatrics. The Boston Globe called “Souvenir”, “downright hilarious…there aren’t many theatrical experiences as good as this!”

Set designer Michael Boyer will create the various set locations, from Flo’s salon to recital halls. David Bird will create the lighting. Leigh Hooten is in charge of Flo’s outrageous costumes. Stage management is by Annie Miners. 

The sponsors for the 2013/14 season are Digital Island Media, Royal Furniture and Key West Web Design. 

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