Ignorance is Bliss: Florence Foster Jenkins

Want to make a complete 180 after basking in the lush, gorgeous voices of last weekend’s La Traviata? This weekend, the Madison Theatre Guild presents Souvenir: A Fantasia on the Life of Florence Foster Jenkins. Jenkins was an American soprano who became famous for her conviction that she was a great singer, despite her obvious lack of talent and basic ability to sing on pitch. Think we’re kidding? Just listen to her take on Mozart’s Queen of the Night aria.

Souvenir, by Stephen Temperley, premiered on Broadway in 2005 and stars local favorites Terry Kiss Frank as Florence Foster Jenkins and Taras Nahirniak as Cosme McMoon. From the press materials: “Souvenir is a heartfelt, wickedly funny look at the limits of self-perception and the unpredictable nature of friendship. The story of real-life Florence Foster Jenkins, a New York socialite and tone-deaf diva who thought she was a great soprano. Unfortunately her great love of music was not matched by her own abilities. Her brilliant, wry accompanist, Cosme McMoon, chronicles Florence’s unlikely rise to cult status, which culminated in an infamous sold-out Carnegie Hall performance in October 1944.”

Performances are May 6-21 at the Evjue Theatre at the Bartell (113 E. Mifflin Street) and tickets start at $15. Betty Diamond directs.

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