Tony Winner Kaye Reprises Role of Off-Key Singer in A.C.T.'s Souvenir Starting Feb. 13

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13 Feb 2009

Judy Kaye in <i>Souvenir</i>.
Judy Kaye in Souvenir.
Photo by Carol Rosegg
Tony Award winner Judy Kaye, who played vocally challenged soprano Florence Foster Jenkins Off-Broadway and subsequently on, reprises her performance for San Francisco audiences beginning Feb. 13.

American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) in San Francisco present Tony winner Kaye in Stephen Temperley's play with music, Souvenir: A Fantasia on the Life of Florence Foster Jenkins. The production will play the California venue through March 15 with an official opening Feb. 18.

Vivian Matalon, who directed the New York productions, again directs. Donald Corren, who originated the role of Cosmé McMoon, co-stars with Kaye. Kaye was last seen on the A.C.T. stage as Mrs. Lovett in the national tour of Sweeney Todd.

"Long before Judy Kaye came to A.C.T. to star in Sweeney Todd, I had been hearing rave reviews of her astonishing performance in this show," said A.C.T. artistic director Carey Perloff in a recent statement. "So naturally I was thrilled when she walked into my office one day and said that nothing would make her happier than to perform Souvenir at A.C.T. Because San Francisco is an opera town, this piece will have special immediacy, but beyond that, it will resonate for everyone out there who has dreamed of doing something that they weren't quite good enough to pull off, but fell in love with anyway."

The A.C.T. production of Souvenir boasts the complete Broadway design team: scenic designer R. Michael Miller, lighting designer Ann G. Wrightson, sound designer David Budries and costume designer Tracy Christensen.



"The theatrical duet with music follows the incredible-but-true story of real-life Manhattan socialite Florence Foster Jenkins, as told by her accompanist Cosmé McMoon," according to Souvenir press notes. "Jenkins, an eccentric, self-styled diva, won renown in the thirties and forties (and cult status since) for sharing her singular genius in lavish recitals—despite (or maybe because of) her astonishing lack of any musical ability."

Souvenir 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.

Tickets for Souvenir can be purchased by visiting A.C.T. Ticket Services, located at 405 Geary Street, by calling (415) 749-2228 or by visiting www.act-sf.org.