Theater by the Book returns with ‘Souvenir’ |

Theater by the Book returns with ‘Souvenir’

Submitted to The Union

Sierra Stages and Miners Foundry Cultural Center have announced that the April installment of the Theater by the Book informal play reading series will be "Souvenir" by Stephen Temperley. The reading will be at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, at the Miners Foundry in Nevada City.

"Souvenir" is based upon the true story of Florence Foster-Jenkins, a New York socialite whose tin ear couldn't keep her off the stage at Carnegie Hall.

The play, told through the eyes of her beloved accompanist, is a touching and comic tribute to Jenkins' sincerity, ambition, deep love of music and complete lack of talent, all of which brought a unique joy to thousands.

This reading of "Souvenir" is directed by Sandra Rockman and features Sharon Heinz as Jenkins and Ken Getz as her accompanist, Cosme McMoon.

There is a suggested donation of $10 to cover costs, and tickets are available in advance at the Miners Foundry website — — and in person at BriarPatch Co-op in Grass Valley. The doors open at 7 p.m. Refreshments will be available for purchase.

Notoriously lacking in pitch and rhythm and barely capable of sustaining a note, Florence Foster Jenkins was firmly convinced of her greatness as a coloratura soprano.

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Accompanied by her pianist, Cosme McMoon, the duo embarked on a 12-year career attaining a dubious celebrity as Jenkins' recitals and concerts became all the rage of New York City audiences.

"Souvenir" paints a tender picture of a relationship between the self-deluded diva and her stalwart pianist that culminated in a 1944 sold-out performance in Carnegie Hall.

This is the second season for Theater by the Book and the eighth play presented as part of the series.

"The Theater by the Book series has developed a core following over the past year," said Gretchen Bond, executive director of Miners Foundry.

"It is fun for the actors and audience alike, it is a great chance to experience a wide variety of plays in a very informal setting (with wine and beer and light desserts available for purchase), and it gives the Miners Foundry another opportunity to promote and support local theatre and the arts."

Sierra Stages is a local nonprofit nonprofessional theatre group, currently presenting its sixth season of plays and musicals in western Nevada County. Sierra Stages recently completed a successful four-week run of the Stephen Sondheim musical comedy "Company" at the Nevada Theatre.

Its next production will be the Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning play "Proof" by David Auburn from May 1-18 at the Off Center Stage in Grass Valley, to be followed by "Peter Pan" by J.M. Barrie this summer at the Nevada Theatre.

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