Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Queen of the Night

Posted by Bruce Miller
Last night was a very rewarding Opening Night for Souvenir at Hanover Tavern. Many, many thanks to:

Debra and Jonathan for their terrific performances,
John and R. L. for their knowing stage direction, light design and musical direction,
Sue for her world-class costumes,
David for his masterful tech direction,
Slade for his invaluable electrics work,
Joe for his expert stage management,
Chase and Dee for their backstage magic, and
all the amazing theatre artists and administrators who are making this charming production possible.

This true story of Florence Foster Jenkins and Cosme McMoon is inspiring as it challenges our assumptions regarding what is art, which artistic performances have value, and who gets to decide.

As much as we in the audience find ourselves doubled over with laughter at Madame Flo (as Cosme calls her) and her vocal stylings that surely must be sending countless Pamunkey pups running for the hills, we simultaneously find ourselves falling in love with her confidence and generous spirit.

If none of this makes sense, then come see Souvenir, a delightful evening that takes you back to NYC during the glory days of American musical performance. When Cosme begins the show talking about Cole Porter, Elsa Maxwell and the Aga Khan, it took me back to the glory days of the original production of Randy Strawderman’s Red Hot and Cole in the mid-70s, when those same names were recalled on stage during the opening of that most famous of Barksdale world premieres.

If you would like to learn more about the real Ms Jenkins or Mr McMoon, you can sample their recordings at:

and/or you can read the transcript of a radio interview conducted with Mr McMoon in the early 90s in Berlin:

The photos used in this blog post are of the real Florence Foster Jenkins. To see Debra Wagoner’s gracious, hilarious homage to Ms Jenkins, buy your tickets to Souvenir today. Like Boleros for the Disenchanted, it’s not to be missed.

--Bruce Miller

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