Liz McCartney Will Be Off-Key Diva in George Street's Souvenir

News   Liz McCartney Will Be Off-Key Diva in George Street's Souvenir Liz McCartney, who has been seen on Broadway in Taboo and Mamma Mia!, will play the vocally challenged Florence Foster Jenkins in the George Street Playhouse's upcoming production of Stephen Temperley's Souvenir.
Singer-actress Liz McCartney
Singer-actress Liz McCartney

McCartney will be joined by Broadway veteran Jim Walton as Jenkins' accompanist, Cosme McMoon, in the New Jersey production, which will begin previews Feb. 27 with an official opening March 2. Directed by Anders Cato, Souvenir will run through March 25.

In a statement George Street artistic director David Saint said, "I loved seeing this show in New York — I can't recall when I have laughed louder, or have been more moved by a production. Not only is it a play about following your dreams against all odds — all the way to the stage of Carnegie Hall. But, it is also about this extraordinary relationship between Mrs. Jenkins and her accompanist, Cosme, and how, despite his initial misgivings, he grows to be quite fond and protective of her. While the play could lampoon her, it is instead a heartfelt valentine to this remarkable woman."

Jenkins, who was an eccentric society woman, believed she was a great soprano, although the opposite was true. Despite her lack of talent, Jenkins' charity recitals in such venues as the Ritz Carlton Hotel brought her much fame. Jenkins often mistook audiences' muffled laughter for cheers, and over 2,000 people were turned away from her Carnegie Hall concert in the mid 1940's. Souvenir tells Jenkins' story through the eyes of accompanist Cosmé McMoon.

Souvenir — starring Judy Kaye — began previews at Broadway's Lyceum Theatre Oct. 28, 2005, and officially opened Nov. 10. The production, which began life at Off-Broadway’s York Theatre Company, played 10 previews and 70 regular performances.

Liz McCartney starred on Broadway in Mamma Mia!, Taboo, Les Misérables, The Phantom of the Opera and the short-lived musical Dance of the Vampires. She also spent nearly two years in the Boston production of Nunsense, and her regional credits include Paint Your Wagon, The Rocky Horror Show and Fifty Million Frenchmen. McCartney was recently seen Off-Broadway in the musical Bingo. Jim Walton made his Broadway debut in the original production of 42nd Street. His other Main Stem credits include Perfectly Frank, Merrily We Roll Along, Stardust, Sweeney Todd and The Music Man.

The George Street Playhouse is located in New Brunswick, NJ, at 9 Livingston Avenue. Tickets are available by calling (732) 246-7717 or by visiting www.gsponline.org.