SOUVENIR – a Fantasia on the Life of Florence Foster Jenkins
DAYTON THEATRE GUILD
The Dayton Theatre Guild presents the first SEASON EXTRA production of the 2011 – 2012 season, Souvenir, a Fantasia on the Life of Florence Foster Jenkins, for two weekends only – September 16 through 25, 2011. It is directed by Saul Caplan and produced by Debra Kent.
Florence Foster Jenkins, a wealthy society eccentric, believed herself to be a great coloratura soprano when she was actually incapable of producing two consecutive notes in tune. Even so, her recitals in the ballroom of the Ritz Carlton hotel where she resided, along with her single concert at Carnegie Hall in 1944, brought her great fame. Souvenir is based on the real life of Florence Foster Jenkins and tells her story through the eyes of her accompanist, Cosme McMoon, a talented musician who first saw her as merely a way to pay the rent, but who came to regard her with friendship and affection.
The cast includes Reneé Franck-Reed from Dayton as Florence Foster Jenkins. Reneé has performed locally in the Dayton Theatre Guild production of The Beard of Avon and at The Human Race Theatre, in The Man of La Mancha. She has also performed at the Schuster Center in The Daughter of the Regiment and in Gypsy and Fiddler on the Roof at the Dayton Playhouse. Renee’ has her own vocal studio in Dayton. Cosme McMoon, Florence’s accompanist, is played by Chuck Larkowski from Fairborn. Although Chuck has been seen on Dayton stages for years, and in such productions as Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Urinetown and The Producers at the Dayton Playhouse, The Lion in Winter at Playhouse South, and MacBeth at Sinclair Community College, Souvenir is Chuck’s Dayton Theatre Guild debut. By day, Chuck is Professor of Music at Wright State University.
SYNOPSIS from Dramatists Play Service:
For more than half a century the name Florence Foster Jenkins has been guaranteed to produce explosions of derisive laughter. Not unreasonably so, as this wealthy society eccentric suffered under the delusion that she was a great coloratura soprano when she was in fact incapable of producing two consecutive notes in tune. Nevertheless, her annual recitals in the ballroom of the Ritz Carlton hotel, where she resided, brought her extraordinary fame. As news of her terrible singing spread, so did her celebrity. Her growing mob of fans packed her recitals, stuffing handkerchiefs in their mouths to stifle their laughter—which Mrs. Jenkins blissfully mistook for cheers. The climax of her career was a single concert at Carnegie Hall in 1944. Famously, it sold out in two hours.
SOUVENIR, by turn hilarious and poignant, tells her story through the eyes of her accompanist, Cosme McMoon. A talented musician, he regards her at first as little more than an easy way to pay the rent, but, as he gets to know her, his initial contempt gives way to reluctant admiration, then friendship and affection. Eyewitness accounts of their concerts vary so wildly it is almost impossible now to separate fact from gossip. Hence this fictional “biography,” in which we follow the story of their partnership from its earliest days to their concert in Carnegie Hall and its aftermath. With each new imagined triumph Florence’s confidence soars. Faced with her boundless certainty, Cosme comes to revise his attitude, not only towards her singing but to the very meaning of music itself. As the play ends the audience enters her world completely, finding there the beauty she’d heard in her head all along. A musical odd-couple for the ages.
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Tickets & Performance Information:
(Times Vary: Click HERE)
Tickets Prices: $10 student / $15 senior / $17 adult
Location: Dayton Theatre Guild at The Caryl D. Philip’s TheatreScape – 430 Wayne Ave. Dayton, Ohio 45410(MAP)
No one under the age of seven will be admitted.
Tickets are on sale now through DTG’s Online Box Office, or via phone at (937) 278-5993 (due to a volunteer staff, phones are not monitored continually).
For more information about Dayton Theatre Guild’s entire 2011-12 season, visit www.DaytonTheatreGuild.org
Dayton Theatre Guild at the Caryl D. Philips TheatreScape