“Souvenir,” at the Falcon Theatre, is one tone-deaf diva’s dream and life story from magic to tragic. Florence Foster Jenkins rose to popularity and prominence from her humble beginnings as a child prodigy on the piano, to later giving annual recitals at the NYC Ritz Carlton for friends and community. Brava to the exquisitely talented operatic soprano, Constance Hauman (recently in The Grand Duchess), who gives a superb, “je ne sais quoi” performance as Foster. She hits the high F notes, singing off-key the whole play through, until a climactic finale, perhaps the show’s most beautiful moment.
“Souvenir,” which enjoyed a run on Broadway in 2005, and before that off-Broadway, is an exciting privilege for Garry Marshall, as he brings two gifted talents to his stage: Constance Hauman and Brent Schindele, as pianist and loyal confidante, Cosme McMoon.
On the challenging role, Hauman stated,” One of my biggest fears was losing your reference of real and perfect pitch-when you get used to the wrong key…” Never losing her perpetual optimism, happiness and lifelong dream of singing the coloratura aria, “Queen of the Night” from Mozart’s “The Magic Flute,” Jenkins, age 76, was able to “die happy” one month after a sold out performance at Carnegie Hall in 1944.
Between elaborate costume changes and inspiring melodies sung and played from the heart, “Souvenir” is art and entertainment at its best.
“Souvenir” plays Wednesday – Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 4 p.m. through February 28 at The Falcon Theatre (4252 Riverside Drive). For more information, call (818) 955-8004 or visit falcontheatre.com