‘Souvenir: A Fantasia on the Life of Florence Foster Jenkins’ at Morris Museum’s Bickford Theatre Sept. 27-30

Florence Foster Jenkins

The Bickford Theatre at the Morris Museum is pleased to present ‘Souvenir: a Fantasia on the Life of Florence Foster Jenkins‘ by Stephen Temperley from September 27 – 30, 2018. April Woodall stars as Florence Foster Jenkins and Nicholas Kaminiski as Cosmé McMoon. This production is directed by David Edwards in conjunction with Surflight Theatre of Beach Haven, NJ.

‘Souvenir’ is the true story of Florence Foster Jenkins, a wealthy society eccentric who suffered under the delusion that she was a great coloratura soprano. For more than half a century, her name has been guaranteed to produce explosions of derisive laughter as she was in fact incapable of producing two consecutive notes in tune. Her annual recitals in the ballroom of the Ritz Carlton Hotel, 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, Cosmé 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. Faced with Florence’s boundless certainty, Cosmé comes to revise his attitude, not only towards her singing but to the very meaning of music itself.
Souvenir was originally produced Off-Broadway at the York Theatre Company and after much critical acclaim moved to Broadway for an extended run. Both versions were directed by Vivian Matalon, who initially suggested the idea to author Stephen Temperley. David Edwards has previously directed the play at New London Barn Playhouse and Surflight Theatre, and actress April Woodall has starred in several productions of the play, including most recently at Arrow Rock Lyceum Theatre.

The cast and creative team includes:

April Woodall (Florence Foster Jenkins) is an actress and vocalist with a background in opera. Regional credits: Maine State Music Theatre, ME; Fulton Theatre, PA; Arrow Rock Lyceum, MO; American Theatre Group, NJ; Mill Mountain Theater, VA; Little Theatre on the Square, IL; Gateway Playhouse, NY. Closer to her home in Pennsylvania: Bristol Riverside Theatre; Hedgerow Theatre; Flashpoint Theatre; Center City Theatre Works; The Seaport History Museum Theatre; Eagle Theatre; and The Devon. Best Actress award from The Chain Theatre (Reading under the Influence); Best Solo Performance, MITF; Carbonell nomination for The Sound of Music (Maltz Jupiter Theatre); Barrymore nomination for Souvenir (Montgomery Theatre.) April is a proud member of Actors’ Equity.

Nicholas Kaminski (Cosmé McMoon, Musical Director) has served as Music Director and Assistant Music Director for the 2014 season at Surflight Theatre and again this season. National Tours: Cabaret (AMD, Apex Touring). NYC: The Dead Legend (MD, NYMF), Paradise Lost: Shadows and Wings (Ensemble, Carnegie Hall). Regional: Putting It Together (MD, Havencrest Castle), A Chorus Line (Key II, Palace Theatre). Original Work: Transgender Stillborn. Nicholas holds his BA in Music and Communication from Rutgers University. For more information: www.KaminskiMusic.com

David Edwards (Director) has received 2 Connecticut Critics Circle Award nominations, 3 Broadway World nominations, and an Oscar Wilde Award nomination for his work as a theatre director. As an actor, he is a veteran of over 150 credits from Broadway to Off-Broadway, regional theatres, film and TV. Directing credits include multiple productions of The Producers and South Pacific, Showboat, Man of La Mancha, Neil Simon’s Rumors and The Last of the Red Hot Lovers, Dan Goggin’s Meshuggah-Nuns, Agatha Christie’s The Unexpected Guest, Connor McPherson’s The Seafarer, By Jeeves, Title of Show and the world premiere of Bittersuite: Songs of More Experience at such theatres as Westchester Broadway Theatre, Meadow Brook Theatre, Surflight Theatre, Ivoryton Playhouse, Gretna Theatre, Florida Repertory, Centenary Stage, Playhouse on Park and Gateway Playhouse. David is a proud member of Actors’ Equity. Visit www.davidedwardsonline.com

Stephen Temperley (Playwright)
Born in London, Stephen Temperley first came to the U.S. as a teenager. He acted in several plays for the Public Theater in New York before returning to London. There he performed in the West End, on TV and in repertory. Since returning to the U.S., he has worked extensively in regional theaters and stock, on Broadway (the original company of Crazy for You) and off (Up Against It at the Public). The first of his plays to be produced was Beside the Seaside at the Hudson Guild. Plays that followed include Money/Mercy at the Chelsea Theatre Center (Mercy was later seen at the first HBO New Writers Workshop in Los Angeles) and Dance with me, first seen at the 18th Street Theatre and then at Centenary Stage. Workshops include That Kind of Woman for Dodger Productions and In the Country of the Free for the Mint Theatre. He made an appearance at the Berkshire Theatre Festival in Amadeus in 2006 and premiered his play, The Pilgrim Papers, directed by Vivian Matalon, in July at the same festival. Souvenir also debuted at the Berkshire Theatre Festival before it played Broadway.

Thursday September 27, 7:30PM 
Friday, September 28, 8:00PM 
Sunday September 30, 2:00PM
$45 General Public; $40 Seniors; $35 Morris Museum Members; $38 Groups (10 or more); $25 Students (with a valid student ID). There is a $3 service charge per ticket.
Tickets may be purchased online at http://morrismuseum.org/theatre/,by phone at 973. 971.3706, or in person at the Bickford Theatre Box Office. The Bickford Theatre is an integral part of the Morris Museum, located at 6 Normandy Heights Road in Morristown, NJ, and offers free parking and full accessibility. Box Office hours for phone sales are Monday through Friday, 10:00am to 5:00pm. Walk-up hours are Tuesday through Friday, 11:00am to 5:00pm.